Merry Kiss-Moose To One And All

Merry Kiss-Moose To One And All

Since I may or may not have time to post further wishes before the holiday, I want to wish everyone an amazeballs day tomorrow regardless of whether you celebrate or not!

May everyone have a glorious and bright day! ♥

MerryKissMoose-12232013

#happyholidays   #happyholidays2013  #merrychristmas   #merrychristmas2013  #santaslittlehelper   #lensbaby  #lensbabycomposerpro

2013’s Top Life Lessons

2013’s Top Life Lessons

(This is to go hand-in-hand with the lessons of my photographic life as they are so closely tied.)

After creating my photography lessons for +Levi Moore‘s *Top Photography Life Lessons* posting for 2013, I decided to think back on the year in retrospect and post about what I, as a person, learned this year.  I actually feel this was an amazing year of growth and clarity for me; I moved through some rough patches, found forgiveness within myself, a renewed vigor after surgery, and an overall positive outlook for myself and those I choose to surround myself with.  To accompany this post, I have reworked an image I made in the earlier part of the year to emphasize these changes in a positive way.

So, without further ado, here it is:

To start, I learned that there were mistakes I made in anger, sadness, and frustration this year that were rooted in events from years ago that I never really rectified because it was easier to go the high road and ignore it until they resurfaced, and the frustration and anxiety rushed to the top.  I take full ownership of what I did, though at the time, I did not see it as something to cause issues, I saw it as a way to work through my own emotions by speaking with my friends.  This does not excuse how I handled the situation, but the real learning lesson came in August when I finally accepted ownership for the hand I played and forgave someone for the pain they caused me.  The forgiveness was my peaceful closure.  It was FOR me, and did not have to be reciprocated; I forgave to let the anger and frustration wash away from my soul.  I honestly wish, back then, I could have forgiven and moved on rather than leave that toxic feeling in my heart one minute longer.

I also learned a valuable lesson about friendship online.  It can be a bit like a lamb in wolf’s clothing; you don’t know who exactly is on the other end.  There is no way to properly vet someone in such an anonymous format, and we all take a bit of a leap of faith in that regard when we respect someone enough to put trust in that friendship, but just like in real life, it can come back and bite you in the end.  The thing I learned most was that you have to put yourself out there in order to make friends.  You cannot close yourself off to the world and expect to be a part of it.  I was sad to lose some friends this year, but equally happy to build new, lasting friendships – it is an amazing gift.

In addition, I learned that life is messy and you cannot be in control of cleaning it up!  Take charge of how you handle your own life and how you react to the world around you!  We cannot predict behaviors of others, but we can be the captain of our own U.S.S. Emotions so sail that ship towards calmer waters.

This year I found that my art could be catharsis without being a soapbox per se.  I could use my concepts and imagery to work towards peace.  That was probably the most gracious and fruitful lesson to learn.

The Blame Game is unnecessary in life.  Protecting one’s own emotions, ego or inherent philosophy is both self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating.  Blaming doesn’t work when you take ownership for your actions/mistakes and the repercussions of those actions; it also allows you the freedom to learn, grow and move on with life in a clear way.  Tit for tat is a selfish way to escalate without onus for your part in a scenario.  The sad part about blame is that it can be contagious.  When I make a mistake now and learn from it, I reward myself with something special.

The key is to not fear failure or rejection; sure it sucks, but don’t fear it to the point that you invert into your shell and never take a chance.  There may be something awesomesauce at the end of the rainbow.  Fear is no way to live a happy, healthy life.

Forgiveness should always be for you so that you may forgive yourself and others alike.  It is amazing when someone will accept it, but it shouldn’t be a requirement or else they are just empty words to feed your ego.  I think Jennifer Hamady said it best:

“Forgiveness means that you are choosing to release the grip you’ve continued to allow people and situations from your past to have over you in the present. It is a gift of acceptance you give to yourself; the very gift that allows for true freedom from all that has come before.”

Another excellent lesson I learned this year is to avoid listening to your inner critic when she is clearly menstruating (figuratively).  She is usually not a good friend anyway, but when she is having serious PMS, put her on mute!

In the world of work and career, it is important to understand the people around you.  This does not mean that you have to make everyone you work with your best friend, but it does mean that sometimes you have to step outside yourself and your own processes and look at things from a different perspective.  You don’t even have to agree with them, but providing a level of respect is paramount to thriving positively in what you do.

Do not take ownership for everything that happens in life.  If someone doesn’t respect your thoughts, that is there problem, not yours.  If someone thinks you suck, again, that is there problem not yours.  You do not have to waste your time and energy proving to them you are of value.

I learned that there is no greater support network than my family and friends.  I pretty much already knew this, but I think I understand the totality of it more in this year than in previous years.  Perhaps it was getting sick in October and having such a loving family help me through it that made it sink in, I do not know; I just know with a level of major certainty that it is true.

Everyone has bad days; just make sure the number of good always kicks the ass of the bad ones!

Communication is the root of everything.  It is how we convey and how we learn to understand.  We gain new perspectives and resolve conflict.  Effective communication should be at the forefront of all you do.  Interpersonal relations cannot thrive without this and people cannot learn from you as you learn from them without communicating.

I learned, in retrospect, that I really did learn and do a lot this year, but I still want to continue striving for more.  When I originally thought about the year, which is very common when you get to the end of something, I thought I had not gone as far as I could go in many aspects of my life, but after some serious conversations with my boyfriend (he keeps me grounded), I realized that I was letting that inner critic take the reins, and it was time to get them back.

I am not sure if my surgery locked in the positive vibes for good or maybe losing a diseased organ just made me feel so much better in general and that helped influence my desire to let the little things slide…

Regardless, I feel so much more unburdened and ready for the New Year.

What I am doing and aiming for in 2014, you may wonder with such a lesson-filled 2013?

I am going to continue working on my staying in a peaceful place and I plan to do the things I set my sights on…

Some of these things include:

1. Traveling more;
2. Networking for my portraiture work more;
3. Offering to shoot more commercial work for free to build my portfolio (I know some people);
4. Stop sweating the small stuff;
5. Focus on what I can control;
6. Let the drama be left in the past (mine and those of others);
7. Continue in school and keep up the high marks;
8. Use the feedback from instructors and professors to build a wicked portfolio;
9. Be more confident about my art; and
10. Take care and love this life I have to the fullest!

And, now, if you made it to the end, I hope you have taken something valuable away from all this, and if not, I just thank you for reading it!

Happy holidays and I hope for you to have a blessed new year!

RetrospectComposite-LifeLessonsRevision

2013’s Top Photography Life Lesson

2013’s Top Photography Life Lesson

So, +Levi Moore thought of this idea to share something you learned photographically this year rather than a simple group of top shots or countdown.  I like this idea a lot and thought I would contribute with my own set of things (a lot more than one) since I believe I grew a lot this year.

The most important thing I learned, since my focus was primarily portraiture and achromatic shots was above all else, learn to control your lighting.  Whether it is natural, monolighting, or flash, learn the angles of incidence, reflections, refractions, specular highlights, and how to modify it, and you will know how to capture a beautiful shot.

In addition to this, do not be afraid to conceptualize and add artistic flair to your images.  Sell a story, make the shot interesting and even choose a theme.  Some of my most creative selfys were the ones that pushed my limits and some of the easiest captures to get where the ones I had the most fun doing (Even when it took hours of hair and make-up).

Do not fear research, referencing and reconstructing to hone your skills.  It is not plagiarism to mimic a lighting set-up or pose; artists and photographers do it all the time.

Be true to what you want to create and build your style.  Whether a portraiture photographer or someone in love with being one with nature, own your artistic abilities and continue to grow them.  You know what you like to see and how you want to see it so do that!

Challenge yourself!  Go past your comfort zone and you will be rewarded greatly.

Remember that post processing can be your friend.  There are no hard and fast rules to artistic portraiture and photography.  Learning to use a photo editing software does not make you a bad photographer, it makes you a better equipped artist!

Never stop learning or trying to educate yourself!  Feed the muse (right, +Robin Griggs Wood ?)….

And, last but not least…

Do what makes you happy!

Blue_ChristmasBW

To see the original post, click through tohttps://plus.google.com/u/0/+LeviMoore/posts/NQFisPK1qwj

#2013photolifelesson

#MonochromeMonday (+Monochrome Monday) Curated by +Hans Berendsen , +Jerry Johnson , +Steve Barge, +Dominique Hilbert , +David Orr and +Martin Heller

+Monochrome World  #monochromeworld  +andi rivarola

+HQSP Monochrome  curated by  +Claire Jennings+Massimiliano Marsiglietti +Оксана Крысюкова+Delcour Eric +Joy mum +Luis Vivanco +Mark HELM#hqspmonochrome

#HQSPPortraits by +Michael Thomas Jeppesen  +Jim Haner & +Michael Thomas Jeppesen

Her Yard

Her Yard

This week, I found an interesting documentary about pitbulls on Netflix called Beyond The Myth(http://www.beyondthemythmovie.com/) and my daughter and I watched it.  We are owners of such a “mixed breed” and it always makes me chuckle when people seem frightened of such a sweet baby.  This kid throws cheesy smiles like it is nobody’s business, and her yard is full of nothing but playful fun!

While watching, they brought up the myth of “locking jaws”, which is such a silly thing.  There are no such things a locking jaws unless you are referring to coming down with tetanus heehee.  In addition, a “pitbull” doesn’t even have the strongest bite force in the doggy species (the Doberman, German Shepard, Rottweiler, Mastif) according to National Geographic.  However, what floored me the most was when my daughter said that the reason someone didn’t like our dog was because she has a locking jaw.  I carefully explained to her that she can disprove the fallacy with proof.

But this got me thinking…

First, please don’t talk about members of anyone’s family (yes, my pups are part of my family) without knowing them.  This is a good rule of thumb for anyone in regards to any person or pet.

Next, unless you conducted experiments yourself, work in the field of study, or research scholarly (reputable) articles, then do not presume to judge any breed or creed.  Again, this should be the same for people and pets.

Finally, seriously, look at the smiling face….

DayoftheDog-12212013
This is not the face of an angry or scared dog.  She has been rescued and raised through love, respect and caring.  About the only thing she will do is maul you with affection and kisses. ♥

(I also encourage anyone who has Netflix to try to watch the movie; it is well worth it, but a little heartbreaking at times)

+DOG LOVERS Worldwide  #dogloversworldwide +Robert SKREINER +The G+ DogPark +DogsCircle

Slightly late for #FidoFriday (+Fido Friday) curated by+mel peifer, +Lisa Lisa, +Suhaib Ayaz, and +Wes Lum.

#doglovers   #loveyourpup  #pitbullloversandadvocates   #lovemypit  #partofthefamily   #loveyourpitbull

Week 51: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Not Another 52 Project?!?!?!

A 52 Week Project | Monochromatic/Achromatic/Color Portraiture

Week 51: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Judy Garland – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

There isn’t really much to say that hasn’t already been said in the lyrics or the title of this post.

I wanted to be sure, between wrapping presents and bringing on all the yule tide awesomesauce, that I got my portrait shot in as it is nearly the last one.  After spending a bit of my week finishing up my finals and watching some more from the Kelby training vaults, I decided upon a portrait with my tree as the background rather than an actual backdrop.

With an evening shoot and no light beyond the tree and one continuously lit soft box and reflector, it was a dark room, so I kicked the ISO up and this was the result.

No crazy make-up or conceptualization as this is the season to think of family, friends and the wonders of the season!

So, without further ado, here is my submission for Week 51 of this project.

52Project-Wk51-HolidayLights-12202013

The rules I have laid out are simple – 1) these portraits can be of myself or another model, but cannot be the same image as my other project; 2) There must be a lighting element – whether my studio lights or a consciously planned shoot using natural lighting from the golden hour, etc. The key being consciously planned – no “on a whim”, point the camera at someone and call it complete. These will be portraits per the definition:

por·trait
/ˈpôrtrət/

Noun

1. A painting, drawing, photograph, or engraving of a person.
2. A representation or impression of someone or something in language or on film.

Synonyms
picture – likeness – portraiture – portrayal – effigy

My goal is to expand my portraiture abilities and processing as well as direction I give others while also working on my creative muscles and my own personal style, which I believe to be shooting what I like to see!

#portraitphotography   #notanother52project

#52project   #52weeks2013   #52weekproject  #52weeks #52portraitproject   #portraitphotography

#lyricallyinspired  by +Jason Jakober +Tara Romasanta and +Amanda Recker

Mad World

Mad World

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere

Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you,
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles its a very, very
Mad world, mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy birthday, happy birthday
And I feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen

Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me, what’s my lesson?
Look right through me, look right through me

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you,
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles its a very, very
Mad world, mad world, mad world
Mad world mad world

Original Lyrics by Gary Jules (Tears For Fears)

Mad World, Alex Parks 

So, this series was exactly 56 shots, which had a total of 35 shots I connected with and wanted to process, but for the sake of not wanting to fill up my profile with a million narcissistic pictures of me (and this series) all at the same time, this is the last one I am sharing at this point.

When I saw this particular image in my LR import, I immediately thought of the song Mad World, but not the Tears For Fears version, the version by Alex Parks that originally made its way to one of my indie Pandora stations a few years ago.

It even mildly resembled the pose (accidentally) from her Introduction album.

Out of the few images I have processed so far, this one is the least post composited and it was because I thought the pose and expression said more about the story than added colors or shapes could.  I left it pretty normal other than the typical beauty processing that I have become kind of known for with my selfys – artistic, if you will.

Now, why this one became the last image I am sharing from the series and why it is accompanied with the song that it reminded me of?  That is pretty simple:

This time of year, beyond my own stories of sadness, I hear so many people talk about how they are in stores and people rudely shove past them, or are on the roadways and people nearly cause accidents because they believe they have a right to cut someone off, and even more tales about how people are forgetting that kindness is the reason for the season.  No one person on this planet is more deserving of respect than the person next to him and I find it sad that at this time of year so many people lose sight of that.

It is not a season of selfishness, privilege, treating others as invisible or making anyone feel anything less than appreciated.  Some of us put up lights in and on our homes and they spread light and cheer; why on Earth would anyone want to try to dim that with darkness and cruelty?

It is a mad world at times…

I think people get stuck in ruts, I truly do.  We forget that life it a gift and that we share our gifts with each other daily – we do not need one day during the year to share love, camaraderie, and blessed feelings, and I wanted to post this as a reminder that we can all make positive changes to the world one person at a time; whether it is with a smile, an “excuse me” in a crowded store, giving to those less fortunate, or being grateful to the family and friends who love us dearly.

We can be the change we want to see and I challenge you all to break the “mad world” cycle this year and make joyousness and awesomesauce reign supreme this holiday season!

MadMadWorld-Finish12192013

#HQSPPortraits by +Michael Thomas Jeppesen  +Jim Haner & +Michael Thomas Jeppesen 

#lyricallyinspired  with +Jason Jakober +Amanda Recker and +Tara Romasanta 

  #allthingsred  +Lucille Galleli +Stephen Thackeray +AllThingsRed 

+Women of a Certain Age  #womenofacertainage  with+Janice Hackney and +Elizabeth Lund 

Blue Christmas

Blue Christmas

“And when those blue snowflakes start falling
That’s when those blue memories start calling
You’ll be doing alright with your Christmas of white
But I’ll have a blue, blue Christmas…”

She & Him – Blue Christmas

A few years ago, I used to be a big disliker of Christmas.  I didn’t hate it per se because watching my daughter enjoy the crap out of it was awesome, but I lived alone as a single mom and so other than doing it for her and my family, I really just didn’t enjoy the holiday because it was a reminder of being alone.

That changed after a very persistent Christmas Ninja, my boyfriend, made such an amazing effort to break me of that, and he finally did exactly what he intended to do.  He made me realize that it wasn’t the boxes and bags under the tree that I had really been longing for, it was the traditions of putting up the tree together, listening/singing songs with fine spirits in our glasses, and being together to make those memories.

With a series of events that have spanned the course of the year and as we neared the end of this year, I felt those blue feelings return.  I was a little depressed about Christmas because it felt like we were going through the motions of the holiday, but no one was really enjoying it in our household for various reasons.

Last night, that all changed as I arrived home with my munchkin.  We pulled up to the house that had fresh Christmas lights and such hung up and when we walked in the house, Christmas music was playing and all the trees had been set-up (with lights).  They were ready for us to decorate.

I felt those warm tears of happiness enter my eyes and I knew my blue Christmas was over.

We talked about it, and we were reminded again that it is about what we do together during the holidays that make them special, not all the presents or cash blown to make everyone happy.

So, for this image, I say farewell to the blues of 2013…

May everyone stay merry and bright! ♥

Blue_Christmas

For +PortraitTuesday  #portraittuesday  with +Tana Teel and +Laura Balc

+Texture Blend Photography #textureblendphotography   #textureblendtuesday with +Gemma Costa

#lyricallyinspired  with +Jason Jakober +Tara Romasanta and +Amanda Recker

#selfportrait   #selfportraitphotography   #selfy  #BlueChristmas   #blue   #winter   #shotwithmusic

Week 50: Catching Fire

Not Another 52 Project?!?!?!

A 52 Week Project | Monochromatic/Achromatic/Color Portraiture

Week 50: Catching Fire

“The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire and before art is born, the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation.” – Auguste Rodin

Last SSP, I went with a chilly ice queen, but for this week (and this project), I thought I should blaze to life with something a bit closer to my mood and my temperature!

In my spare time (which really means while working on homework or during tedious work stuff), I like to watch+kelbymediagroup videos, and have enjoyed learning from techniques demonstrated by some of my favorites like James Schmelzer, Joel Grimes, and Lindsay Adler.  Each offers something a bit different, but it is important when forming your own artistic style to understand the basics as you evolve.

I know what I like to see and how I like to “fire it up”, but it has become equally as important in my mind that it become something I can do at a subconscious level rather than have to learn from trial and error.  Watching these pro’s in action, sharing their knowledge, really sets my creativity on fire; thus, we have this series.

The make-up was actually not too complex, and I think I am in love with the pigments from Concrete Minerals for some true-to-life color from palette to skin.

I actually went a different route and it seemed to pay off.  For this, since I knew I was building up the eyes, I added the false lashes first, then completed the primers and base.  After the lashes were fully dry, I used yellow, orange, red pigments for the eyes – a touch of golden liner along with the black liquid liner, and doubled the red pigment into the brows for the extra pop.

The hair was fun, too.  One of those love/hate styles is to tease and fluff the hair.  It can be a total pain to get it to untangle, but since my hair isn’t quite as long or tangly as say when +Christina Lawrie did this for her spectacular profile image!  So after a bit elevating my hair, I was pretty much camera ready.

Now, the lighting could not have been more simple.  1 diffused beauty dish for softness and one white fill reflector to bounce some light back up and to keep the shadows not too harsh.

After that, I imported it to my catalog, sent it over to PS for some very minimal edits – mostly to skin smoothness, eyes to pop, and texturing the backdrop.

So, without further ado, here is my submission for Week 50 of this project.

The rules I have laid out are simple – 1) these portraits can be of myself or another model, but cannot be the same image as my other project; 2) There must be a lighting element – whether my studio lights or a consciously planned shoot using natural lighting from the golden hour, etc. The key being consciously planned – no “on a whim”, point the camera at someone and call it complete. These will be portraits per the definition:

por·trait
/ˈpôrtrət/

Noun

1. A painting, drawing, photograph, or engraving of a person.
2. A representation or impression of someone or something in language or on film.

Synonyms
picture – likeness – portraiture – portrayal – effigy

My goal is to expand my portraiture abilities and processing as well as direction I give others while also working on my creative muscles and my own personal style, which I believe to be shooting what I like to see!

SelfySundayNoTheme-CatchingFireFinal-12142013

Please take time to also view or participate in the Themeless edition of  #SSP  this week:https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/ccdn34pt8idntine8alij43jg7s

#portraitphotography   #notanother52project  #selfysunday   #selfysundayproject

#52project   #52weeks2013   #52weekproject  #52weeks #52portraitproject   #portraitphotography