Another Year Down!

I can honestly say I’m beyond excited to see this year go away. What a nightmare roller coaster we’ve all rode together!

I closed a studio, started another, closed the second one and then started another… I think I’m finally done moving and Rio Dell will be my permanent home. I hope to have a grand opening once we’re allowed to congregate and be somewhat normal again. In the meanwhile, I’m making sure things are perfect and ready to go – when the world is ready to go.

To all the wonderful folks who supported my business and became a friend – thank you. I sincerely appreciate the support and most importantly, the trust, you’ve given me to capture your family memories.

Here’s a virtual toast and cheers to an amazing 2021!

(Below is a pic of my favorite thing that came from lockdown – my new greenhouse!)

Musings on the Corn-Teen

I don’t write nearly as much as I used to. I take great enjoyment in jotting down my thoughts and this corn-teen has definitely given me an opportunity to do so. One essential item preventing me from writing was the epic Netflix series, “Tiger King.” Until they finish Series 2, I’ve got some time on my hands.

Today’s blog will be a mishmash of experiences I’ve had over the past three weeks. Things that might inspire you and things that might not help you one damn bit. But they are all things important to me and need to be said (or so the little voice in my head tells me).

The first experience I needed to share was about the viral video going around involving the whipped coffee phenom. I discovered it watching Tik Tok videos. Before I explain the recipe, let me tell you about my love for Tik Tok. I don’t post videos – I’m just a voyeur. My kids, husband, and pets think I’m nuts as I sit there for hours watching videos. They hear my laughs, snickers, and snorts. I particularly like the trending dance videos as I feel as though watching them gives me a quasi workout. I don’t understand all or why some of the videos have been created, but it’s simple mindless entertainment. And I sure wish my kiddos would appreciate the 20+ videos I sent them a day. It just shows that I’m thinking of them. Jerks.

I digress. Back to the whipped coffee. Most of the recipes call for instant coffee, sugar, and boiling water. You whip these ingredients into a frenzy and then add it to your favorite milk product – I say this to not be exclusive of other milks – oat, almond, coconut, etc. We tried it and failed as we couldn’t get it frothy enough, but I still drank it. The taste was like bitter but kind of sweet instant coffee, and you probably could have chewed it rather than drinking it. After drinking it, I promptly renamed the coffee, “the colon cleanse,” and thanked my lucky stars for having purchased my Costco pack of TP just prior. It could have been a disaster.

After the home colonic, the next experience I’d like to share with you is that of social media. I swore off my personal FB page for almost four months, but this downtime has sucked me back in. One thing I quickly noticed were that people were still well, people, and the loudest, most obnoxious voice was still the most regarded. I’ve also noticed how (sadly), many of my friends are still sharing incorrect and often absolutely wonky information. I have learned the power of “unfollowing,” and it’s been a godsend. Now, I only see posts from people who keep their crazy in check and actually read past a headline. I don’t panic and it’s taxing on my anxiety to watch the folks who daily profess that the world is ending.

Overall, this corn-teen has been great on my housecleaning and yardwork but terrible on the pocketbook and overall morale. I hate it. I want to go back to work and I want life to be normal. I don’t want to feel weird or judged when putting things in my effing shopping cart at Safeway, in fears that Karen or Susan will deem it non essential. I’m sorry, but alcohol has been used as a disinfectant for years. Maybe not the margarita mixer, but you can just screw off with that sort of negativity. I want my kid to have an 8th grade graduation and my junior to not worry about his senior year- and my almost college graduate to think she’s not walking across the very expensive stage (!). And lastly, I just don’t want people to die.

Dear 2020, your lubeless tendencies this year have made me not a fan.

The Shady Spot

This morning my hubby and I drove out to the beautiful Mattole Valley for a photoshoot. I was especially excited since I haven’t been out that way in a few years and I was missing the coastline and pretty much everything about this magical place.

The Mattole Valley is where our family property is located. Each summer, my boys chomp at the bit until they can get out there with their dad. It’s not only a place to hunt, relax and seek refuge from WiFi, it’s also the place where my dad rests.

Before my dad passed away, he always told us he wanted to have his final resting place at the “Shady Spot.” This peaceful and tranquil location was my dad’s favorite spot. He would proclaim it as the best spot to bag a deer but I knew it was because he could sneak in as many naps as he wanted and not have to worry about scaring anyone with his grizzly bear snoring.

My dad’s ashes were scattered at our family property a few years ago and the boys planted a redwood tree at his favorite spot. I’m hoping to send out a few hardy succulents this year to add to his garden.

I’m really tempted to send out a rose bush, only because my dad hated dealing with them. He’d hack them to the point of death (his version of a “pruning”) and those suckers would grow back bigger and better the following year – I swear they were flipping him off with their thorny branches. I have a few of his hated roses now planted in my backyard and they are flourishing – even with my gentle pruning. Knowing my dad, I think he’d get the joke.

The drive was absolutely gorgeous and it was nice saying a silent “hello” and an, “I love you,” in the direction of the ridge where he now sleeps with one heavenly eye open, keeping a watchful eye on his grandsons.

Who’s the Best Photographer…For You?

A couple times a month, I’m inevitably tagged on Facebook in postings asking, “Who’s the best photographer?” Or my personal favorite, “Who’s the cheapest photographer?”  That one always makes me cringe a little!  While I totally appreciate and love the fact folks think highly enough of my work to tag me in posts like this, it also makes me realize I have a completely different view on hiring a photographer.  As a professional photographer and also as a consumer of  photography (taking pictures of your own children is like herding cats), I thought I’d share my own top five list of things I personally look for when hiring a photographer.  In no particular order…

  1. What’s their style?  Look through their galleries and really “see” how they shoot and edit their pictures.   Are they more of a storyteller –  meaning the subjects are not posed and more candid-type shots are offered?  Or, do they like traditional posing with candid poses thrown in for good measure?  Are the pictures vibrant and true to life or do they have an artistic flair?  Remember, you are going to have these photos forever – probably hanging on your walls for years.  A photographer’s style is very personal and their own look – but it should always be consistent within their gallery.  Also, there is absolutely no right or wrong when it comes to style – especially if you, as a consumer, love it.  By looking through a photographer’s galleries, you get a good idea of what you’re purchasing and how your family will be represented through their lens.  We are so blessed in Humboldt to have a plethora of photographers with so many different genres and styles.
  2. Are they legit?  There is nothing more irritating to me than someone who refuses to do the right thing.  If you claim to be a business and accept money, you need to be in the right with your paperwork.  Does your photographer have a business license?  Are they registered with the BOE?  Do they have insurance?  Are they claiming their income and supplying you with contracts to protect both parties?  I know you can argue being a legit business does not always affect the quality of a photographer’s work, however, it potentially can place the consumer in a bad situation – especially if something happens during the shoot or purchased items are not delivered in a timely or satisfactory manner.  I loathe paying taxes but it makes me proud to know I’m doing the right thing and contributing to our business community.  Support small business whenever you can – we appreciate it!
  3. How are they spending your money?  I love a good mystery but not when it comes to my photo packages!  It’s super important to know what you’re getting with the money you’re paying out.  If you don’t understand – ask!  In the photography world, it’s really split as to how photographers provide their goods to clients.  Some only provide digital files, allowing you to print on your own, while some will charge you a session fee and then allow you to buy their prints.  And even after those options, you’ll find a bunch more ways photographers supply their goods.   Every photographer does it differently and it’s up to you as the client, to find one that works within your budget while giving you the products best suited for your needs.  Photography is expensive but it’s one of those memories you’ll forever treasure.  I know when my Dad died, the photos I took of him really helped me and my family through the grieving process and I’m forever thankful for them.
  4. Do you like them?  I admit, that’s a weird statement.  But think of it this way,  you’re about to pay someone to make you look comfortable, natural and hopefully happy in photos you’re going to place on the walls of your home and office.  Is the photographer you’re hiring capable of making you feel that way?  Will your kids and husband get along with them?   Not everyone “clicks” with each other and when you have uncomfortable people, it truly shows in a photo.  Have a conversation with your potential photographer and make sure that they are the right person for the job.  When my very photo loathing hubby and I got married, my photographer’s personality was seriously something I considered foremost.  It made the whole process a lot smoother in that he “got” us and didn’t push my husband into shots he wasn’t comfortable with (which was most of them!).
  5. What are they shootin’ with?  As a consumer of photography, I don’t expect for a minute you should know everything there is to know about camera equipment – but I do expect your photographer to be well-versed.  Based on their portfolio and your talks with them, does it appear they know their equipment?  Are their portfolio pictures properly exposed and in focus?  Do they use artificial lighting or have access to a studio in case the weather becomes unruly?  These are all questions your photographer should be able to easily answer and better yet, demonstrate with their quality and consistent work.  By no means does having a studio make a person a better photographer, but it’s just one more style of photography they can offer and you can benefit from.  Also, something to consider is that an experienced  photographer who works well with their equipment will also strive to get their photo right in camera.  This will greatly reduce the amount of time for editing and culling during the post processing time period and hopefully equate for a faster turnaround time to get your products.

Remember, it truly shouldn’t be about who’s the perceived “best” or who’s the “cheapest” photographer, based on someone else’s opinion or research – it’s about who’s “perfect” for you.  Do your research and have confidence knowing you picked the right person to capture your memories.  Have a fantastic day and thanks for reading!

Lucky #14!

I’m getting ready to do my 14th (eek!) Pay It Forward shoot this coming Sunday.  I thought I’d take a minute to again share the backstory of my project and my business.  Thanks for reading!

On January 31st, 2014, my dad passed away unexpectedly from a massive heart attack. Prior to his death, he and I had done a fun photo shoot involving things he loved. I never realized how important these pictures would turn out to be, until he was no longer with us.

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With this thought in mind, I came to realize not all families have the luxury of having good, quality photos of their loved ones. Photography is expensive but it’s one of those things so greatly appreciated, especially after the death of a family member.

The goal I had with this project was to help out whenever I could. I had initially pledged to do one session a month and this quickly morphed into multiple projects. Thanks to the help of other local photographers, we’ve been able to photograph several hundred families, completed numerous fundraisers for local causes, captured (via photos) the work of many community groups and related projects, and have met a ton of awesome people. Also, we’ve able to assist the community with food and toy donations to the less fortunate while providing quality pictures to families.

One of my most favorite things I’ve come to do with my PIF shoots, is to work with our local foster care community.  I’ve met so many great kids and families; I feel truly blessed to be able to capture some of the childhood memories of these amazing kids.

I now operate a business and have a passion for photography and a desire to still help out when I can in the community. I’ve been shooting and editing for over twelve years, and want to share my experience with someone who might appreciate it.