Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I think I might be a cat

My pet, Scratch, came to be with us this past Summer. At the time, she was a tiny little kitten, precious and adorable and everyone who came to the house this past Summer absolutely fell in love with her. She'd crawl up on our shoulders and nuzzle her face against our cheeks to fall asleep. She was perfect for us. We honestly needed her at that time. Seth was a ball of nerves and so was I being home with the kids all day. We just adored her. it happens with all creatures, she grew up. Pets, of course, grow up much more quickly than human children and before we knew it, we had a full grown CAT in our home, complete with a litter box, toy basket, and weekly bathing, grooming routine. Hey, I may be a cat person, but I want a clean cat. Yes, the stupid animal gets a weekly bath. She's getting used to it. Just kidding, she still hates it but she's doing it anyway(don't worry PETA, it's cat shampoo).

Since she's grown and changed physically, she also changed in her behavior. She's getting a little fussy and finicky these days. So, like a good cat-mommy, I googled this stuff and I realized that....I am basically a cat.

Cats rely strongly on body language to communicate. A cat may rub against an object, lick a person, and purr to show affection - I DO this! I mean, I don't lick or purr, but I rub on Seth to show him that I need/want affection. 

The strength of the cat–human bond is mainly correlated with how much consideration is given to the cat's feelings by its human companion.- ME, ME, ME!!! The more people give, the more I give. The more they pull away, the more I compensate for the lack of consideration, at first, and then I begin to pull away. I 

Some people regard cats as sneaky, shy, or aloof animals. Cats have an inherent distrust for predator species such as humans, and often seek to minimize any contact with people they do not perceive as trustworthy.- I distrust humans, too! And I also minimize any contact with people that I do not perceive as trustworthy. Not that people outright betray me, but rather, if I hear your incessantly gossiping about other people when you are with me, I have to wonder what you say to others about me when I am not around? Best friends/sisters excluded, of course. 

Cats relate to humans differently than more social animals, enjoying some time on their own each day as well as time with humans.- I just want a balance of being a complete and total introvert when I want to be left alone and expecting everyone who knows me to show up and party with me when I feel like being social. Is that really too much to ask? Come on....

Cats have a strong "escape" instinct. Attempts to corner, capture or herd a cat can thus provoke powerful fear-based escape behavior. Socialization is a process of learning that many humans can be trusted. - Don't corner me. Don't expect me to give you every detail of a certain thing. Do not, under any circumstances, expect me to defend myself with words...I will flee. I will escape by any means. Avoid conversations about my faith, or my long term goals, or about what I do all day because you will not get any answers. Those topics are not idle chit-chat, they are prying into my personal life and the only people who do that are people who want to use your answers against you. This is based on my experience of humans not being trustworthy. 

Cats like to organize their environment based on their needs.- Do I really need to explain this one?

When a human extends a hand slowly towards the cat, to enable the cat to sniff the hand, this seems to start the process, and can also remind a cat of a human they knew long ago.- 100 times, yes! A precious, sweet, loving, caring, and sympathetic soul can make me completely trust them within just a few hours of knowing them. Apparently, I have an animal-like instinct of detecting trustworthy people and I hold fast to those humans and I never willingly let them go. 

There is a widespread belief that relationships between dogs and cats are problematic. However, both species can develop amicable relationships by reading each other's body language correctly. The animals can better read each other's language when they first encounter each other at a young age, due to the fact that they are learning to communicate simultaneously.- Most of my friends are dogs, and I love them very much. I am married to a dog. We function quite well together, and he is my best buddy. Because I am, apparently, a cat there are times when I hide from him. I hold back, and I do lash out. Because he is a dog, he is forgiving of my behavior and fiercely protective of me. 

In short, My spirit animal is....CAT. No wonder Scratch and I get along so well. 

Here are two short funny youtube video's about Cats VS Dogs, portrayed by humans. It's hilarious. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Eve: Don't look at my floors

I started my day at 4am. I couldn't sleep because of an annoying back ache. I want a new mattress for Christmas. Or a new back. At the very least, a new heating pad because mine died and it was my best friend/inanimate object. I was already awake and I know my body and brain well enough to know that if I am out of bed at 4am, there is no way that I am going back to sleep on a couch or in another bed. I decided to get a jump start on the day and made a pot of coffee. I did some laundry and cleaned the den and yellow bathroom as those rooms are all on the far side of the house, away from the bedrooms, and I could clean without fear of disrupting anyone else's sleep. I crawled back into bed around 7:30 and got a solid 1 1/2 hours before the kids started asking for breakfast :-)

We are having another hootenanny here at the house tonight! Last Friday night we had a few friends over, but tonight will be on a much larger scale and everyone will be in a much more festive mood. It didn't start out as a hootenanny, however. Like most evenings when we host, our guest list always starts off very small and on the day of the hang out, the guest list quickly spirals out of control. There are typically a ton of people in town for Thanksgiving and we love to try to get everyone together, particularly some of our Atlanta besties that we rarely see. I am excited about tonight, as I always am about hosting. I love hosting. I love spending the first part of my day cleaning and getting as much laundry completed as possible. Then I get to do some light decorating, depending on the season and closest holiday. And I usually add a few finishing touches like some flowers or greenery from the yard in pretty vases and of course, what party planning day wouldn't be complete without a good talk-n-to with the kids about how I spent all day cleaning and if they mess it up before my company can see it, I will destroy them.

I consider myself a pretty thoughtful host, at least in the pre-planning stage of hosting anyway. I have guest baskets in my bathroom. One for general company, and one in case anyone decides to play it safe and stay the night instead of driving back home. I am always stocked up on a variety of shampoo & soap, unopened toothbrushes, my best towels washed and sitting right on eye level in the linen closet. There is always plenty of everything at our house. It's not because we love striving to be the best hosts in the world, or because we want to impress anyone. We do this because we want our house, where we are at the time, to feel like a home. We want our guests to feel comfortable and welcome, right down to having more pillows and quilts than they know what to do with. And of course, we want them to have full bellies and a full glass of wine. As the evening progresses and I begin to relax and unwind(that means once I have had enough wine that I stop caring about things other than wine and conversation), I become less of an awesome host, but the ground work has been laid. The freshly cleaned sheets are already on the beds, breakfast meat is thawing out in the fridge, I have already given them free reign to make themselves at home.

For all that I do to prepare for the enjoyment of company of friends and family and their children, There is one thing that I absolutely refuse to do. I don't care if you are the Queen of England. I don't care if you are the biggest germaphobe in the world. I don't care if you think we are disgusting, and terrible, and should be ashamed of ourselves. I absolutely REFUSE to mop my floors before I host a dinner party.

So a word to all those who are my friends, and my family: This house is your home, too, when you are here. We have everything that you need. Unless you need specific medication for a particular condition, or if you are in a wheelchair. We don't have a ramp but if you can get in the door, you're all set.  You will never see us turn anyone away, or tell someone that they must bring food and wine to share in order to party with us. We LOVE having our house filled with our friends and families. But my floors will never be clean. We have 3 kids and a cat. They are disgusting little creatures, and I apologize in advance because, no, it's probably not a good idea for your baby to crawl all over our floor. You will want to boil any object that regularly does into your kids mouth if it is dropped on our floor. But I absolutely refuse to spend an hour and a half mopping a floor that will look like a herd of cattle walked over, after spending 3 days in mud and muck, within 2 hours of company arriving. My pre-party mopping consists of tossing a wet lyson wipe the floor and using my foot to scrub one kitchen floor tile that just looks too gross to let slide. I will mop the next morning after collecting all of the beer bottles, cigarette butts from the yard, and stray plastic kids cups from everywhere imaginable on our property. If this in anyway is off-putting to any guests, I will extend the offer to make yourself at home. If your home has sparkling clean floors, you are always welcome to pick up the mop and make yourself at home.

And with that....I'm going to go into my kitchen and pour a massive amount of Pinot Noir into my largest wine glass and begin chopping the vegetables and assembling appetizer trays.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! I am thankful for you all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What Photographers are really thinking: Part 1: Wedding Guests

There are so many things that I hold back as a photographer. I keep my trap shut 9 times out of 10 because many times the things that I would just love to say are unprofessional and unkind and it is very unlikely that anything that I do say will make any difference at all. I thought about posting this on my photography blog, and then I thought better of it because it seemed a little too catty to be perceived as anything other than a bitchy rant. However, after I wrote this and then decided to not publish it on a more public forum, I was having a difficult time not sharing it at all because it is the absolute truth. I know I cannot be the only photographer who feels this way. We put up with a lot and we do it with a smile on our faces, because it's part of the job. Trying to get out of the door and get there on time is a struggle if you have kids. Communicating with everyone during the course of the day...stressful. Working with difficult lighting, equipment emergencies, and cooperating with less than cooperative weather...stressful. Bride freaking out about hair, bridesmaid being difficult, mother being overbearing, wedding director being a nightmare, and where the hell is the florist???....Stressful. All of this takes a great amount of patience and quick thinking on a photographers part. We have to act quickly when the schedule is disrupted. OK, so the florist hasn't delivered bouquets and boutonnieres yet. Wow, the bride is 40 minutes late. We have to roll with the punches, we have to fit everything into whatever time slot we can find and it's not easy. However, I think the most stress that I personally experience from a wedding day shoot is dealing with the guests. I don't think I have ever had a "Bridezilla", my brides have been great for the most part. The wedding party is at least pretty cooperative in terms of scheduled photographs. And I love goofball groomsmen. They are fun, they are sweet to me, and they have usually been in enough weddings to know that the more they cooperate, the sooner they are finished with photos.  The guests, however, can often display such appalling behavior as to make me wonder if they have ever attended a wedding before in their lives. If they have ever attended a wedding, I have to wonder...was it like, a penguin wedding, you know, at the zoo, or something like that? Or, I mean, do you just have absolutely no social skills or etiquette at all? Is there a chance that you ingested a lot of led as a child? Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?!?

So without any further explanation, here is the first of many 10 things photographers would like to tell wedding guests:

10 Things Wedding Photographers Wish That They Could Say to Wedding Guests

10. I have a name. My name is April. It is not "Photographer Lady", it is not "The girl in black", it is not "Picture girl". I'm nearly 30 years old, I have three children...don't call me "girl". I make a point during each wedding to introduce myself to the wedding party, and the parents of the bride and groom, if we have not already met. "Hi Y'all! I'm April and I'll be doing the photography today." Most of the time, if someone forgets my name, they will politely say "I'm so sorry, I forgot your name" And that is 100% ok. It is not offensive at all. It's a wedding day, and it's stressful for everyone involved. You forget your socks, you forget to put on deodorant, you forget the photographers name. Many times, I will be referred to as Ashley, Amber, or Amanda. Hey, at least they remembered it was an A name.  When I begin formal photo's after the wedding, I make a point to say "Hi everyone, I'm April, I'm the photographer, if you could all remember to look at me, stand still, and smile, we'll be finished very shortly and we can all get to the reception." If I can remember the names of 5 bridesmaids, 5 groomsmen, 2 flower girls, 2 ring bearers,  4 parents, and 1 officiant, almost all of whom I have never met before this very day...the least you can do is refer to me as "Ma'am" if my name is too hard, or if you were preoccupied when I introduced myself(it happens, I understand, just don't call me 'girl'). I am flattered that I am so often mistaken for someone to which the term "girl" could apply, but simple life experience should have taught you that you refer to an individual, with whom you are not acquainted enough to know their name, as Ma'am or Sir.

9. Do you want me to tell you what it feels like when you are the photographer that is attempting to get 10-20 people in a group shot? Ok. Imagine that you are trying to heard a group of really hungry, very hot or very cold cats into a small space and then get them to all look at you at the same time and smile. There are 5 or 6 dogs standing behind you with their iPhones, point and shoot camera's with a flash on(unnecessarily) and half of the cats are looking at them, the other half is just staring off into space, or talking to one another. And imagine that while all of this is going on, the cats keep asking you "How much longer? Are we done yet? Wait we didn't get Nana! Someone go get MeeMaw! MeeMaw can't get up these steps, we need to move down. Don't make me look fat! Should we turn those overhead lights on so you'll have better light? Your flash didn't go off, photographer lady."  So, take that example, and substitute "Adult human beings" for the word "Cat" and put "Intrusive, annoying adult human beings" in the place of the word "Dogs". Yep, I'm getting grouchy. It's not because the wedding was stressful, or because the bride was a bridezilla, or that the groomsmen were goofing is because the family and friends made the group shots go 30 minutes over the scheduled time because they couldn't act like adult human beings having their photograph made for 5 minutes.  There is no one in the room more ready to get to the reception than the photographer and the bridal party, so shut your pie hole, get your picture shot, and go away.

7. You're not the photographer. I am. Even if you are A photographer, today, you are a guest. Show respect to the bride and groom, who invited you to share in this day, by putting your camera away and allowing the photographer that they booked to do his/her job effectively and efficiently. If there is any part of you that truly is a photographer, you will comply with this.

6. This is our job. This is our profession. It is what we do for a living. Hey, I apply band-aids to my kids knee's all the time, but that doesn't mean that I am a nurse. The fact that you looked at wedding photography on pinterest doesn't mean that you are a wedding photographer. So please do not tell me what I should be photographing. Or that you "saw this thing on pinterest where the bride and groom did this, and they were like that, and it was SO cute." You are waisting my time, and you are waisting the Bride's parents money.

5. I don't have time to give you a lesson on back lighting with your iPhone. I'm trying to document a wedding. I'm not trying to be rude, I am only trying to do my job.

4. As the contracted professional photographer, I have to abide by the rules of the church/officiant. I am frequently not allowed to use a flash, move around, and sometimes I am not even permitted to take photo's during the ceremony at all. In the business, we call this....professionalism. If you don't see the photographer snapping away throughout the ceremony, that most definitely means that this particular church/venue/officiant has rules that permit photography, or intrusive photography, from taking place during a very sacred and holy ceremony. Be thoughtful of your surroundings and exercise a little bit of respect. If you simply cannot help yourself, photograph from your seat and with your flash off.

3. The bride and groom signed a legally binding contract with me stating, among other things, that I am the sole photographer for this wedding. I am also most likely friends with them on facebook. Standing behind me, after I have set up a shot, and photographing that shot is wrong. When you put your photography business' logo on that photograph and put it into your portfolio, that is illegal.  It's actually illegal.

2. You are not the only person who would like to see the bride before the wedding. You are not the only guest who wants to personally congratulate the couple immediately following the ceremony and tell the bride how beautiful she is. They appreciate your presence and your love. However, they have a long and stressful 30-45 minutes of photographs before they can go celebrate and have some fun. Please, please, PLEASE, do not take just one minute to hug them and congratulate them immediately following the ceremony because you will be just one of 40 people who want just one minute with them. If everyone gets that one minute, that means that no one eats at the reception for 40 extra minutes. No one is being rude, they are just on a schedule. Respect the schedule. I get paid by the hour, so it's no skin off my nose. You're just taking money from their pockets and putting it into mine. Because I generally really care about my clients, I wish that you would not do that.

1. All of the points that I made above, rolled into one single very important thing: This day is not about you. She may be your cousin, who you feel is a little sister. He may be your baby brother and you are so proud. You may be very passionate about beginning your photography career and would love to seize the opportunity to do some real wedding photography. None of this matters, because these are your feelings. You matter to the bride and groom. That is why you were invited. However, this is their day. The single most wonderful and precious day of their lives. They want to share it with you. Let that be enough. Don't make it about you.

At some point I will take the useful information from these "What Photographers are really thinking" posts and compile a well articulated and useful list of things to tell the general public. I want them to be aware. I find that many guests do things so wrong, but they don't realize that they are doing anything wrong. They are just enjoying the day, having fun, and will go home that night to happily share on social media the pictures that they shot, and tag their friends to say "Congratulations!" and that they were blessed to be able to share that day with them. They will never know that the photo that snapped of the bride and groom feeding cake to one another was the shot that ruined the paid photographers photograph because they used their flash. They won't think about the time they used to congratulate the couple cost us precious minutes and that is why the bridal parties grand entrance happened 30 minutes later than scheduled. I shoot weddings. That is my job and as such, I am well acquainted with wedding etiquette, how things are done, or should be done. I notice things that the average guests don't notice. I know things that they would never think of. The more weddings that I shoot, the more I am understanding that the tides are turning. Things are slowly going back to a more traditional way of wedding conduct. I am seeing receiving lines, and I love those. They make everyone feel welcome and appreciated without the chaos of trying to hide the wedding party immediately following the ceremony. Perhaps, when I am ready, I will include that awesome tip for the brides. It takes 20 minutes, but it is neat and organized and on the schedule.

None of this means that I do not love my job. It is amazing. I love every portrait session, every wedding, every event. Like any job, there are things that we do not enjoy. And not every guest is a thorn in my side. Just this past weekend I had two guests at the wedding that really made me love my job even more. A young gentleman with a point and shoot camera is usually my worst nightmare. This one was different. He shot with me before I even started doing wedding photo's. We were just admiring the beautiful scenery. He asked me to help him get a good picture of the waterfall from the bridge. We played with his camera and laughed about the difficulty of photographing running water with sunlight bouncing off of it. Later, at the reception, he asked for my help again but only when he could clearly see that I was not busy. A short time after that, he instructed me to get a plate and take a break. I told him that I didn't have time and he immediately told me "You MAKE time!" So I sat down to enjoy delicious roast beef and salad. Another guest, a lady, helped me coordinate the grooms family for formal pictures after the ceremony. It was becoming very chaotic. She and I made eye contact briefly. She broke eye contact and began directing the family. I guess she could sense my frustration and desperation. Or maybe she was annoyed that I was taking so long. Either way, she was very helpful. And if she was annoyed with me, she never showed it. It's guests like these two that keep me in line. They are not all rude or intrusive. In fact, most of them are prefect guests. But it's those few that display such disregard for anyone other than themselves that really make want to turn around and smack them. I am very protective of my brides and grooms, and of their parents(who are paying me) and I have little patience for self-absorbed guests who think that they are somehow entitled to say or do whatever they like.

My job is to document this wedding. The guests job is to dress up, show up on time, witness the nuptials, go to the reception where they can eat food, drink alcohol, socialize, and dance. I sympathize with the guests? No. No, I do not. A guests job is to enjoy themselves and maybe smile for a few photographs. So please, if you are ever a guest at a your job. And please allow the photographer to do their job.


24:365 Seth brought home beer! Hmmm beeeeeerrrrr(homer simpson voice)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I had a good post started for tonight but I had a little too much wine and I can't finish it properly. So here is this post:

My darling niece is staunchly opposed to David Tennant, the 10th Doctor. I won't challenge her because she is a new Whovian who hasn't yet learned that Whovians are loyal to the doctor, not the actor who portrays him. You love them all because each doctor is special and plays a part in making this character who he is. David Tennant was a Whovian before he played The Doctor for 3 series. We LOVE Tennant as the Doctor for many reasons...because he was passionate about playing him, He was GOOD at playing him, because he loved playing him, and because it was so hard for him to walk away from this character. Though so many people are so loyal to Baker, Davidson, or McGann, I think that our new Doctors are pretty incredible. Eccleston was MY first Doctor. And he will always be MY first Doctor.

At our weekly Sunday dinner at the in-laws, I was put in an awkward position. Basically, everyone voiced their dislike of the entire show, and everyone hates the reboot. They were all very vocal about this despite the fact that I had just spent 3 months working my ass off making Doctor Who costumes for my kids for Halloween, which was 2 days prior and which they had all seen. So...yah, thanks for the support FAMILY. Look, I don't care if you like it or not, but I am not going to shit on your favorite stuff in front of you, so don't do that to me. Ass-hats. Loveable Ass-hats. I do love them, very much. They just don't understand me and my non-game-playing ways....

My in-law family doesn't "get" Doctor Who. But my kids and I really do. I present to you a video that was the master plan of Mr. David Tennant over the course of his 3 series as the Doctor:

and after watching that, I just don't see how anyone could not LOVE David Tennant. Or how anyone could not love the amazing people that keep this show running after 50 years. Yes, I said 50 years. It's a great show. And I could raise you any of the stupid shows that you watch(I'm looking at YOU Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries, True Blood fans).  Yeah, I am a multi-fandom gal who loves Doctor Who, Sherlock, Supernatural, Merlin, Parks and Recreation, and the Office. Let's not talk about Game of Thrones, because I am not emotionally ready to go there right now. I simply don't understand, also, who folks could be just so incredibly ugly about bashing a show that means so much, and has meant to much for so many years, to so many people. I don't slam your nerdy games, I don't poop on your hobbies, why would you do that to me?  It's just rude. That's so not cool. It's a very turd-ish thing to do.

During a casual discussion with the boss, he happened to mention that he thought I was dorky. So what else is new? I like my shows, I like Capaldi(don't you DARE start in on him) I'm a dork, a geek, and weirdo. Excuuu-uuuuuussseeee me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Red Ribbon Week and Darth Vader and Tires

I think I can speak for every mother of school aged children when I say that I pleased that I survived last week. Of course, it was Red Ribbon Week in every public school in the nation last week. Ahh, the week in which we talk to our 4-10 year olds about the perils of drug use by dressing up in silly and weird ways and doing the minimum amount of school work mandated by the state for an entire week. Follow Your Dreams, Not Drugs!(pajama day) Wage a War Against Drugs!(camouflage day) Team Up Against Drugs!(wear something relating to sports) and my personal favorite...Give Drugs the Spooks!(wear your Halloween costume). In short.... Party week, woot-woot!

(sometimes you just need some Ickey Shuffle, sorry, I'm not sorry)

I actually like this week of school. It's so much fun for the kids and they change the theme days almost every year, so it's always fun to see what they are going to do. I was very pleased to see this year that Duck Dynasty Day was removed from the schedule. I never understood what that was about last year, but we participated anyway.  The Redneck hype is SOOO two years ago.

Halloween was crazy. I had been working on my kids costumes for months and really struggled with Simon's Dalek costume. It looked awful, but everyone could plainly see how much work I had put into it so they were so sweet in complimenting me on my hard work. The boss even got into being nice to me. This was quite a compliment, because he is very proud of just how little he posts on facebook.

We had a good Halloween. The stress level was at an all-time low, and that was pretty amazing considering we had two of the most high maintenance and complicated costumes that we've ever attempted, a weeping angel and a dalek. Everyone was so cooperative and cool. Cate was even pretty great though she was covered in itching body paint and two cans of gray hair paint, in addition to a dress that basically felt like concrete after all of the textured spray paint was applied to it. We took pictures, did some trick or treating, and meet-up with our family in Rome at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's place. We came home early enough to relax and unwind, and I was up bright and early for Fall Festival downtown.

This week, while it's less hectic, really sucks in comparison to last week. I had a bad night on Sunday night, just did not sleep at all. I took Liam and my bad mood to the grocery store after we spent $50 to have my tires rotated and discovered that I need to replace my front right tire. I didn't have that done there because the tire was still under warranty from a tire shop in Cedartown(I had them rotated in Rome). Here is what my bad mood bought at the grocery store

I found a freaking Darth Vader coffee mug at Wal-Mart. At least there is one good thing that is coming from Disney buying out Star Merch! Yippie!

(I thought it fit good here, too. Sorry)

And my mug has a storm trooper on the other side

This morning, I drove the van to Cedartown. I was informed that like every other time, they would not be honoring their warranty because of something. It's always something. "Well, you had to have the tires balanced, so obviously it was out of alignment. That'll be $99.99." Saying $99 dollars doesn't make you any less of a douche, just call it $100 and be done with it. I don't even care if it WAS our fault this time(it wasn't, btw), after doing business with someone for 12 years, you'd think they would just give you the benefit of a doubt. Or at least honor ONE, just ONE warranty. Never. They never do. I am only annoyed by this because we have been dealing with them for so long. They know our names. They know our professions. And yet in 12 years they have never honored a warranty. They have always weaseled out of it and usually find one or two other thing in "dire" need of fixing that they can charge us an extra $100-$200 for. Done. I am 100% done with that place. Friendly atmosphere gets an A+, really, I cannot stress how nice these people are, but everything else...F. F- is there is such a thing. I just made it, if there wasn't already...F- to that place. They don't even have free wifi. If you're going to weasel out of your "1-year guaranteed warranty" at least give people free wifi. I don't have a smart phone because I have to pay a million dollars a year for car repair. Give me wifi...and a channel on your TV in the waiting room that isn't talking about women's vagina's and the important of an annual pap-smear. Thanks!

I did get to schedule a wedding consultation for tomorrow so that's awesome news! The wedding is THIS month! That is even better, because I just had to spend $100...oh wait...$99 on a new tire and could really use the extra money this month! I guess a third posting of Ickey Shuffle would be too much, so I will just let that music and visual dance in your imaginations.

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

woman on a mission

Next week is Halloween-week. It's a week during which I usually spend my time scrambling to finish costumes, making a halloween night plan, coming up with cool things for the my kids to do to accommodate red ribbon week at school, with it's many activities and special dress-up days, carving out time to carve some jack-o-lanterns, and doing even more work on the damn costumes. Am I the driving force behind the kids' elaborate and difficult costumes every October? Yes, I am. Does that make me qualified to create a Dalek from scrap material found around my home? No. No, it does not. I am considering, very strongly, doing a "Peanuts" themed halloween next year just to make my October a little easier. My creativity levels are at a record low these days and to be perfectly honest, I regret the decision to do one of the most elaborate and complicated costume themes that we've ever attempted. Why do I do this stuff? Because people expect it, and because I am supposed to be creative. It's one of the only qualities I possess that make me cool. No one is going to be impressed that I can watch 5 seasons of a show on Netflix in 3 weeks. Creativity is about all that I have got.

I have found myself in a creative slump lately, which usually doesn't happen around this time of year. I am trying to photograph something every day. Honestly, there are days that pass when I think "I don't even want to look at my camera, or photoshop". It's not depression, definitely not. I think I just want a challenge. I have lived in this house for 5 years next month and I have photographed every nook and cranny. Although, I have never been able to find out precisely what a cranny is, so it is very possible that I have missed one or more of those. My children are reaching an age in which they don't change every day expect in the way that they are growing increasingly tired of being photographed so often. Who reading this remembers my photo projects from back in 2008/2009? Even 2010? I miss that April sometimes. I miss that part of me that wanted to document every little tiny stupid thing and loved the attention that I got from it, and the part of me that wanted to top it every day. I am not sure why I was so attention-hungry back then, but now, not so many years later, I enjoy solitude and privacy so much. Half of the photo's that I take never even make it to flickr. I just have certain little pieces of my life that I want for myself, and I am sure this is much to the relief of Seth who has always said that I over-share on facebook, flickr, and blogger. He's probably right. My constant need for attention can be exhausting to everyone around me, and even to myself and I have found less and less need for attention as the years have gone by though I do try to do it sometimes just to give myself a reason to attempt to be more creative.

In closing for today, I am realizing just how much a person can change in such a short amount of time. As I approach my 30th birthday in January, I am reflecting on my 20's and on all the things that I did wrong, the things I did right, the way I never wish to be again and also the ways that I wish I still were. When I look back on the most difficult, but also the most creative year of my life, 2008-2009, I realize that it was one of my favorite years. So much happened in just one year. I certainly didn't do much growing up that year, but I had fun pretending that I was doing just that. How could I have changed so much in just 6 years? My mission is to rediscover my 24 year old self and bring her back, just without the drama and constant need for attention and praise because when I remember that part of myself from back then, I kind of want to punch that bitch in the throat.

(photo from December 2008)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hush little baby

A few weeks ago, my darling husband surprised me with a new(used) light kit. I was particularly excited about it because I sure could have used one last winter with all the indoor baby sessions that I had to shoot. I made do with natural light and bouncing my flash, but I am stoked that I can act like a "real" photographer this year and not have to resort to more unconventional methods of lighting a room.  It's going to be a great winter, but I have to really draw people in. For years, I have been rebelling against studio photography. I have never had any desire to use a hundred props, capture cheesy, on command smiles, and use artificial light if I can at all help it. However, the older I get, the poorer we get, and the less fire I have inside of me to buck the system. It's a job, and I have to cater to the market.

I recently republished my Facebook photography page. I unpublished it about 2 years ago. I was going through yet another "rebellious" phase and I hated everyone's Facebook business pages because my news feed was constantly cluttered with "specials" and "sales" and online party invites for wax melts and monogrammed lunch totes. It was getting a bit too commercial for a "social" networking. I never deleted my page though because I assumed like everything else I do, it was probably a phase. I was right and I had meant to republish it months ago, but I needed to spiffy it up first. Now it's republished and I haven't shot a session since I put it back up and gained 40+ followers. The pressure is on to really wow my followers. Today I have a two week old baby girl coming over for newbie portraits and I need them to be incredible. My entire winter baby season is riding on it. Most people don't book sessions or weddings in the winter for obvious reasons. But babies can't help when they are born so newborn through 1st birthday portraits are my bread and butter during the winter months. I need today to go well. Yesterday, I decided to do some test shots in some of the props that I had laid out for today's sessions so I could do troubleshooting in advance. Naturally, I don't have a newborn, but I have a 10 year old daughter and she has baby dolls. Unfortunately, the only one I could find was the creepiest damn baby doll ever. It's so creepy that I have threatened to leave it outside for a few months, pop one of the eye balls out and use it as a halloween decoration. Whatever, I just need it to sit there and wear this stupid hat. Three shots in and I said "Oh hell naw, I can't do this anymore."

Here are those three pictures in case you didn't want to sleep tonight.

*Cue Alfred Hitchcock murder music*