Friday, May 30, 2008

For the love of Photoshop

If you've checked out our studio blog recently and if you are an astute person, you will likely recognize that our computer is now fully functional and working splendidly. The joy this gives me is indescribable, but I'll sum it up to say - the blog gets pictures!

I really like blogging. I find it is a great outlet for me to analyze my thoughts and actually give myself time to think about them. I love posting pictures because I'm a sucker for pretty images. So now that I get to blog and post photos, I'm a happy camper.

So I'm just going to post photos!

Jim & Michelle -

When I showed Michelle the pictures this morning, she came in my office and started crying and hugging me. It meant soo much to me. I've never had a client cry over images that I've taken and I've always secretly hoped that someone would! ::smiles happily::

Then the images from Lani's bridal shoot (thanks Lani!)-

Yay! I'm so excited! I'm going to spend lots of time editing photos this weekend. Oh photoshop - how I have missed thee. ::grins::

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Doing things differently

Why do things the same as everyone else? Why follow in other people's footsteps? It's so easy to blur the line between learning how you should do something and doing something the way some one else thinks you should. Oye...

I started thinking about this - in terms of photography mostly - because I was "enlisted" to take photos of the partners at our firm. They wanted the normal head shots that you see most firms displaying on their walls and websites. I did the shots and I feel dissatisfied with them. In truth, I hate them. They have no character, no personality, and they don't accurately reflect the kind of photography that we do. If I had the boldness to step outside the norm, I might have created something unique, creative, and amazing. I just kept to the standard boring shot and now I'm frustrated and worried. I'm worried they won't like the images because I don't. How can I give work to a client that I don't like? I loathe it. I dread it. And yet, I chose the boring shots instead of something more creative.

Perhaps I could have done both - boring and creative - and then let them decide which they would prefer. I didn't feel like I could though. I felt restricted by time and the personalities of the people I was shooting. I feel like I need to stop letting what I think other people want influence my creativity. I need to deliver what they never knew they wanted, but what they end up loving. ::sigh::

I feel like I allow myself to slip into shooting for what other people expect. If I always do this, I will never exceed their expectations. I will only just meet them. I am not content to just meet people's expectations. I want our clients to be in awe of the product that we give them. I'm tired of being average, thinking averagely, and producing average work. I'm tired of allowing the industry standards to dictate how I approach photography as an art. I'm going to try and start over. To think differently about expectations and to deliver something that doesn't just meet my client's expectations, but far exceeds them.

I'm going to be me. I'm going to put life and joy into ALL my work. I'm tired of trying to prove that I'm capable and mature. I'm not mature and I am capable. And the two can go together quite nicely. I'm impulsive, talkative, random, and silly. I laugh too easily and I sometimes say things that don't make sense. And yet, I love life and people. I love photography and making beautiful things. I love thinking and talking deeply. I love reading and writing. I love dancing. And all of these things make me who I am today. And I'm okay with that. I'm okay with being me. I've never wanted to be me before and I've spent my whole life trying to be a combination of other people. I think that I have stunted my creativity and my ability to "fly" because I have never noticed that I have wings. I've been so busy looking at other people's wings and watching them fly, that I haven't even tried to get off the ground with the wings that have been uselessly sitting on my back. So - I'm going to start trying. And I'm going to fall - a lot. But I am going to stop trying to be someone else and stop trying to figure out who I am - and I'm just going to be.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Day dreaming....

I want to be Anne Shirley. In every sense of who she is, I wish I were! The red hair, the freckles, the vibrant personality, the hopefulness and possibility she brings to life, the joy, the love she gives to people, her kind selfless spirit. I've been devouring the Anne books and I can't stop wishing I was Anne Shirley.

I have been finding myself using Anne words as they now seem like the only possible word to describe my emotions! For example, we are interviewing my replacement for the job, and we had a girl who came in to interview who I instinctively felt would be a kindred spirit. There is no other term to describe it. I am finding that there are many kindred spirits in the world - people who may not be "friends" in the sense of having a close intimate relationship, but who indeed have a "kindred spirit."

I feel that if Anne were real (as she is in my mind), we would be kindred spirits and would be enraptured with the beautiful world around us and the lovely people within it. We would make believe to our hearts content. I sometimes feel childish imagining silly things, but now I feel joyous about the fact that I have something in common with the story-book Anne. ::grins::

At any rate, on to real life. We had a lovely evening with our favorite Corvallis couple (who we have known to be kindred spirits since the moment we met them) on Tuesday night. We happily had gelato and chatted away about life, photography, and family. They are now an Aunt and Uncle! I can hardly wait for Taleah to have kids so that I can love on them! We then sauntered off to hear Yuri Rozum play Rachmaninoff's piano concerto 3. It was a lovely performance. Albeit, I enjoyed listening to the orchestral performance over the piano performance. There was an arrogance about Yuri Rozum that entirely repulsed me. However, I will admit that he played lovely despite dropping keys periodically. Apparently he has played for Mikhail Gorbachev and that may explain the haughtiness that I subtly detected. All said, it was a lovely performance that I thoroughly enjoyed. Carrie, on the other hand, loved the performance so entirely that she counted all of the grates on the walls, and then at intermission went and stole a book from the car. It is interesting how God creates us all a little different.

Our computer is broken again. We're not sure why we can't get it to consistently work. I'm sure Andy could, but this week has been so hectic and busy with exams, presentations, and his interview this morning, that he really hasn't had time to work on it all. I feel so bad because I know nothing of fixing computers. At any rate, Andy has an interview for a job this morning! We're praying and hoping that he gets the job! It would be a blessing upon a blessing! He has already got a different internship type job with this company, but they asked him to apply for this job specifically and reopened the period in which people could apply to allow him to submit a cover letter and resume. It seems better from our limited perspective for him to get this job, but we know that God does all things well and we trust in Him to do what is right.

Go Under the Mercy -

Sunday, May 18, 2008

For the love of books...

Thus far, there is still no sign of my book. As frustrating as it was for me, I have temporarily given up my search and rescue operation for the book and opted for another book sitting on my shelf.

I scanned our bookshelf for a "space filler" that wouldn't be a gigantic book - only something to tide me over until I am reunited with my lost book. I grabbed a small novel by L.M. Montgomery - Anne of Green Gables. I LOVED the movie(s); I have watched them a hundred times over and have always giggled throughout. To my dismay, I've never actually read the books, so when I saw this book at a garage sale I instantly bought it.

I thought I would enjoy the books, but I had no idea how much I would LOVE them. My sister came out to hang out with me this weekend and I was so enticed by L.M. Montgomery's word-smithing that I could not put it down. I made Taleah read it to me in the car, in our apartment, and I grabbed the book and read to her on the banks of a lake in Eugene. We both giggled at Anne's antics, the cute mishaps throughout her life, and all the joy and wonder of a girl who is discovering the world and finding her place in it.

I'm so addicted that I am about to buy ALL of L.M. Montgomery's books. I believe she has solidified her place as one of my favorite all time authors, probably second to C.S. Lewis. I love her writing style, her usage of words large and small, the character development, and the heart that she puts into this lovely masterpiece. I am excited to explore her world of narrative and plunge headlong into all of her books.

So - I may disappear for a while. Wish me luck!

By the way - Andy enjoyed a few hearty laughs while we were reading out loud and I believe he may join me in the delightful pleasure of reading Ms. Montgomery's collection.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I lost my book. I was reading it. I was enjoying it. Now it is gone and I can't find it. How do people lose books? Seriously - it's very frustrating. I literally can't start another book until I finish this one because if I do, I know that I will never come back and finish it. That is just how I am. I can never come back to a half-read book unless it is YEARS down the road.... and even then....

Anyway - our computer is still having issues. We tried a new video card and then a phrase about the system configuration being corrupt... hmmm. I don't know what the computer's cryptic messages mean, but Andy says that it isn't good and the word "corrupt" generally doesn't bode well in any situation. At any rate, Andy ordered a bunch of new parts, so hopefully we'll have things up and running shortly. I seriously can not wait to edit all the photos that we've shot recently. Not to mention that our studio blog needs some serious new photo updates and I would like to get the final images off to our clients.... oye ve!

I need new clothes. My clothes are all winter clothes and I have almost no warm weather clothes. It has been pretty frustrating getting ready for work when I can find almost nothing that isn't tailored for cold rainy Oregon weather. I think I may have to force myself to go shopping. I'm going to try and find professional clothes that are light and airy, but that aren't dresses. I want to be able to wear cool clothing during our weddings this summer without worrying about exposing myself when I'm tangled up in odd positions trying to capture the perfect picture. That said - it still needs to be professional and not overly summer-y. Any ideas??? This may be a job for those stylish sisters of mine.

Okay, I need to get some food, finish working on all these boring cases, and then call it a day. But there is good news! I got tomorrow off and will be going riding tomorrow with my favorite person! Yay!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How great the Father's love for us...

I really love my husband. We crashed into bed exhausted last night from an awesome bike ride and spending time with friends. We chatted until nearly midnight with Matt and Lane. It was so awesome to hear their heart about family, life, and love. I am thankful that my husband has such wonderful godly friends to grow in Christ with. Not to mention, I think they are pretty awesome too. :D

But the point of the post is to say how grateful I am for my husband. After listening to Matt and Lane talk about some hardships they have gone through, I realized that these last few years have been a time of great healing for me.

It's hard to explain a lot of the things that have happened in my life, or maybe it is just a really long story, but needless to say I've been sorely wounded by a few people in my life and I walked away with scars and pain that shaped part of who I became. I was so bitter for a long time. I thought the bitterness was justified... I kept it to myself mostly and didn't share my feelings and yet they shaped my attitudes about so many things - church, men, fathers, authority figures, women, marriage, God. Almost everything in my life was tinted through the eyes of anger and bitterness. I didn't even realize it either. I thought that was just how life was and my opinions were more fact than fiction.

I carried these hurts around with me and periodically the pain would be unleashed against someone... I remember I used to become so inwardly angry sometimes. Looking back, I see that my hurt and bitterness was just bubbling over into aspects of my life that had nothing to do with the original hurt. I couldn't explain why I was angry - I just hurt everywhere in my heart and I didn't know what to do about it. I tried prayer, but I felt like God made things more complicated. I didn't want to give my bitterness to Him - I want to hang on to it and point out to Him how I was so hurt and how it wasn't fair.

And then I met Andy. I really feel like God brought Andy in my life to teach me about His love for me, about forgiveness, and releasing the pain that I had been storing inside some deep well in my heart. Andy has loved me unconditionally since the moment I met him. I remember one time I got mad at him for just loving me. I ran out of my apartment and just started crying. I am so messed up, I thought to myself. I can't even let someone love me. And the problem was, I couldn't. I didn't want him to love me. I wanted him to get mad at me and storm off. To leave me. To abandon me.

I don't think I realized over-night that I was hanging on to all my hurt. Slowly, over the course of Andy and I's relationship, I started releasing my hurts one by one. He listened to me cry over the pain, he prayed with me, he laughed with me, and he loved me when I took it out on him. I truly do not deserve the love that he has given me everyday. He has never raised his voice at me, he has never displayed any anger towards me, and he has pulled me into his arms when my anger has bubbled over onto him.

As we were lying in bed last night, I realized how much healing God has brought into my life through the love Andy has shown me. I have such unspeakable joy now. Healing has come slowly, but it has been thorough. I am no longer bitter - sometimes I am sad about the past, but the anger has disappeared. Every time I see my husband, I realize how God has blessed me beyond what I have ever imagined possible.

Our conversation came to an end around midnight and we headed off to bed. As Andy hugged me close, I thanked God for the way that He restored my heart. For the way that He used Andy to show me His love in a tangible way. I thanked Him for the joy that filled my heart. I asked Him to teach me how to love Andy in the way God wants to love him. I asked Him to teach me to be the physical demonstration of God's love to the people in my life.

"Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city."
Psalm 31:21

"Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name."
Psalm 103:1

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Psalm 104

Psalm 104

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent

3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind.

4 He makes winds his messengers, [a]
flames of fire his servants.

5 He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.

6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.

7 But at your rebuke the waters fled,
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;

8 they flowed over the mountains,
they went down into the valleys,
to the place you assigned for them.

9 You set a boundary they cannot cross;
never again will they cover the earth.

10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.

11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

12 The birds of the air nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.

13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.

14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:

15 wine that gladdens the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine,
and bread that sustains his heart.

16 The trees of the LORD are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

17 There the birds make their nests;
the stork has its home in the pine trees.

18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
the crags are a refuge for the coneys. [b]

19 The moon marks off the seasons,
and the sun knows when to go down.

20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
and all the beasts of the forest prowl.

21 The lions roar for their prey
and seek their food from God.

22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
they return and lie down in their dens.

23 Then man goes out to his work,
to his labor until evening.

24 How many are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.

25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.

26 There the ships go to and fro,
and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

27 These all look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.

28 When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.

29 When you hide your face,
they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.

30 When you send your Spirit,
they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.

31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD rejoice in his works-

32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the LORD.

35 But may sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.
Praise the LORD. [c]

Monday, May 12, 2008

Oye ve!

Busy doesn't even begin to describe this last week. Our house is in disarray. Our photo gear is strewn around the apartment. Our clothes are pilling out of our suitcase. We have no food in the fridge that is edible, and the dishes and compiling. Then this morning - our computer crashed. How hilarious is that?! I seriously want to kick the stupid thing. It breaks on us routinely every few months for some obscure reason. Darn technology.

So I was going to blog yesterday about our AMAZING engagement session. It was seriously the best session ever! I pushed myself creatively beyond my normal bounds, the couple was fabulous to hang out with and cute to boot, and everything just "clicked." Literally. :D

So I was editing the lovely images of Lani, downloading last night's e-shoot, and feeling very productive. And then - ca put. Grrr..... Andy promises to fix it tonight while I clean, cook, and put away laundry [how very house-wifey of me, I know]. Something about a video card and we need to spend more money on bigger and better computer crap. It all breaks eventually, so I'm not sure what the point is anymore.

Friday we hung out with fellow photogs at Sara Ash's house. It was fun. We met our second shooter, Emily, for a wedding we have coming up in July. She seems really great and we're excited to have her along. ::smiles happily:: Then we all just shot the breeze (not literally) and ate Sara's delicious ravioli. I'm going to have to make Andy steal the recipe so that we can have it again. It was super fab.

Then Saturday we had multiple client consultations. One of them went fantastically and the rest were okay to good. I guess we'll find out how good if they end up booking or not! Then off to my parent's house where tensions were running a million miles high. Let's sum it up with: two teenage girls, volcano project, explosions, and my dad admitting that maybe their project was a bit too dangerous.... scary scary. When dad says it is too dangerous, you better start running the opposite direction - quickly.

Then off to swing dancing with my lovely friend Mandi. I definitely enjoyed chatting with Mandi more than I enjoyed dancing. I heart her and hope she never moves far away (though she threatens often)!

Sunday was full of cooking and preparing for Mother's Day. The moms all came over to Andy's parent's house and ate a yummy meal. Then presents, hugs, loves, and off to Corvallis for a photo shoot.

If my writing sounds rushed, it is only a reflection of the weekend!

The shoot was amazing! I was exhausted before hand; I didn't want to go. Andy offered to do it by himself, but I forced myself to go and am sooo glad I did. I really am proud of myself after this shoot. I haven't EVER felt proud of myself after a shoot. I usually berate myself for taking photos that aren't very good, or creative, or varied enough. But this was amazing. Really really amazing. I'm not sure that the photos will look all that different than our normal images, but I felt like I overcame a mental roadblock which has been camping on my road to creativity for a while now.

Then off to dinner on Sunday night with Lane, Ian, and Jenni. We ordered my favorite meal in the whole world at McGraths and it was delightful. Then home to edit photos and have the ole-box-o-metal fall apart on us.

Finally, Sunday ended with exhausted sleep and Monday began sweeping me back to work. I tell you, I cannot wait another day for this job to be over. It's less about the job, and more about the way it sucks your entire life into a bottomless pit. It is a life sucker. Ugh. Then tonight, I'll go grocery shopping, be busy cleaning, and feel like the whole world is spinning a bit too quickly for my taste. If my world had breaks, I would slam them on.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Can I be tired?

Really. I'm tired. It has been quite the weekend! Andy started the weekend off by staying out until 1AM on Friday and came stumbling into bed where I had been sleeping since 7PM. Needless to say, all day Saturday, he was exhausted.

Then we woke up EARLY Saturday morning for some reason and decided to drive to and from Corvallis and Salem - during which time we did something secretive. Which I will reveal at a later date - maybe. ::grins mischievously::

Then Saturday evening, exhausted and sleepy, we headed over to Jonathon & Carrie's for dinner and a photo shoot. All I can say is that we have so much fun with them that I completely forgot that I was tired and pooped. In fact, I think I could have kept shooting much longer than we actually did.

Then we headed back for dessert and photo editing. Carrie has completely revolutionized ginger bread for me. I actually took delight in her gingerbread cake and ice cream... mmmmm.... As I'm sure everyone knows, Carrie and Jonathon are fantastic photographers and a complete blast to shoot with. Their friend, Lani, volunteered to be our model for the evening and she was absolutely beautiful to photograph. She was super expressive and fun. I am amazed that after 5 years of marriage and two children, she can still fit into her dress! Lani - if you are blog stalking like you said you do, thank you SOOO much for volunteering to be our model for the evening. You were such a trooper standing out in the cold for so long!

Then we came home late Saturday, crashed into bed, and wished that we could sleep all day on Sunday. Today has been pretty yellow mellow. I spent most of the afternoon reorganizing our computer - putting files where they ought to be, deleting excess images, burning backup cds of images, responding to emails, and the like. It has been very productive actually. At 3:30, we met with our new graphic designer. His name is Evan and he ROCKS! Like is amazing. We're SOO excited to work with him. I am confident that we'll be able to create a logo and brand with him that fits our studio well.

Then we came home, tried to sleep, sort of napped, and then Andy headed off to his group project stupidity around 5pm. I again, sorted through files, uploaded images, deleted crap, responded to a zillion new inquires for 2009 weddings. How weird is that?? People are seriously booking for 2009 already? I'm not complaining, I'm just amazed that people are that prepared.

Then Andy came home and is doing homework while I blog about our weekend. Fun fun. Well time for sleepy-ness. Ciao!