Sunday, May 19, 2019

Aiming for the Middle

This week I completed a large project that has been hanging over my head since December. It seems I like to spend a lot of time in the concept stage of a project, overthinking it almost to the point of death. The actual doing doesn't take me that long.

In the last three weeks, I have shot, edited and uploaded all the video clips needed for the workshop I am teaching at the end of the summer for Dirty Footprints Studio's Summer Studio. The title of our summer session is - Capturing Moments. My workshop specifically is called: A Personal Note: telling the story. In a nutshell, it is about taking your favorite photographs into your art journal and telling the story behind the photograph using carbon transfer, words, and paint.

This is the first workshop I have ever filmed. Being in front of the camera is very uncomfortable, at least from a talking perspective. I would much rather write than talk. But I knew that I had to give this a try, and I am glad that I did. I learned a lot. All those films I shot last year in Xanthe Berkeley's film course paid off though. The editing portion was a breeze.

As I was preparing to upload them to Dirty Footprints, my husband asked if they would come back with any critique., it is a deadline for a reason. I have watched enough e-courses, and done enough filming that I was comfortable with what I had done. I told him that I wasn't aiming for perfect. That leaves no room for growth. I was aiming to settle in the middle.

Time to move on to some new projects and overthink those to death.

Early Bird pricing for the Summer Studio goes live on June 7. If you are interested, I will have a code for you to use when it goes sale. Stay tuned to my FB page and Instagram, as well as here. 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Shadow Day

Photo Credit: Zeeland Christian Schools

A friend recently asked me if I would be willing to let her daughter "shadow" me for a day, part of a school project for 8th grade students. Samantha is interested in photography. Without a moment's hesitation I said, "Yes".

Photo Credit: Samantha Meyer

Last Thursday, May 2 was our "Shadow" morning. I had texted Sam's mom earlier in the week to find out what she enjoyed photographing. Being a good mom, Rebecca sent me a folder of Sam's photos.
Flowers, low to the ground shots, shooting into the sun for sun flares. Sam and I would get along just fine.

Photo Credit: Samantha Meyer

It has been a rainy, cold, crappy week here in Michigan, and Thursday's forecast called for a 60% chance of rain. I prayed real hard the night before. My initial plan was to shoot in our downtown. Our town is host to the Tulip Time Festival every May, it is starting this weekend. All the tulips to photograph, along with food vendors, bleachers, and carnival rides. A photographer's delight. I did make an alternative plan if my prayer didn't work. Greenhouses were our next best option.

We made it half way through the morning before the slightly annoying mist became very annoying rain. We stopped at one greenhouse. The rain gave us enough time to go to a coffee shop and load her photos onto her computer and play a tiny bit with editing.

Photo Credit: Samantha Meyer

Even though my role was teach Sam about what I do and photography, I think in the end she taught me much more.

What Sam taught me:

  • To fall in love with what I do once more
  • To look up
  • To be brave
  • To love being a teacher/mentor
  • To continue my own photography projects/series
  • To find the words again
  • To get out and wander without the dog once in a while
  • To see life through the fresh, unjaded eyes of youth
What I taught Sam:
  • Composition and the rule of thirds
  • How to hold and lock focus on her phone
  • Snapseed editing app for her phone
  • The art of wandering
  • Coffee shops are a great place to hang out
  • Build a body of work - shoot a series and keep building it. 
  • Don't be afraid to put your photos out there
  • Look at other's photos to learn more about your own
  • Good rain gear will always serve you well :)
She deduced herself that this was much more fun than school :)

Photo Credit: Samantha Meyer

Thursday night lying in bed, I was thankful for at least a couple hours of minimal rain. Also, for the revelation that I much prefer walking alongside someone on their creative journey then standing in front of them. 

Have a great week!


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Fixing What Was Broken

I never imagined when I ended this blog that I would so completely and unequivocally lose my way. I figured I would have the time I needed to devote to my fledgling business, and to a small degree that was true. But without blogging, I lost the motivation to make photographs. I lost the ability to share in the way that is truest for me.

Yes, since December somebody has been taking up most of my spare time and energy. But when my husband and I went on a cruise in early March, and I had a whole week without him, but still couldn't find excitement in taking photographs or editing them; I knew something was seriously broken and I had to figure out how to fix it.

Two events in April/May have been catalysts for me being back in this space today.

The first event was our 2nd Annual Huizenga family vacation at the end of April up in northern Michigan. We rented the same that we rented last year, thankfully minus the snow this year, and with an additional dog in tow. It was still great, but very different from all my other trips to the north country. I have never had a dog of my own along. This changed my morning routine. Instead of going out shooting every morning, we drove in to town and practiced his loose leash walking. I brought my dslr along, but never once took it out of its bag. The best camera is the one that is always with you. I shot a lot with my phone. I also shot a lot of video clips that will be complied into this year's vacation films. This creativity made me very happy, and was one giant step towards fixing what was broken.

The problem was that I had all these great mobile photos and films clips, but I had no way to share them other than FB, which is fine...but...I need to tell the stories as well. A FB post isn't the space for that. I didn't realize until this trip, a trip we have taken many times, how important the words and the stories are to me.

The second event was in early May. I was asked by a friend of mine if her daughter could shadow me for a day. Eighth graders around this area usually have a Shadow Day towards the end of the school year where they get to pick somebody in a profession they are interested and follow them around for a morning. She is interested in photography. Since I have a "business" I counted as somebody she could shadow. I said yes immediately.

I am nearing the finish line, or at least the finish date for the videos I had to shoot for the Dirty Footprints Studio summer workshop I was asked to do. On our Shadow Day, I had some interesting revelations about all of that as well. I will be sharing about our Shadow Day in my next post. I wanted to give it its own breadth and light.

Eventually, I will be moving my blog to my new website for Twisted Road Studio. Once I get these workshop videos finished, I will have the time to work on that. I have decided the new blog will be called Tales from the Twisted Road.

Stay tuned! I will be back.