Blogging, photography and me

[Long exposure (25 seconds, I believe) of the ocean taken in Yachats, OR this past weekend.]

Happy summer solstice!

I know I don’t need to explain every move I make, but I wanted to talk something out here.

This blog started as just a place to write publicly for people from all walks of my life. It was supposed to include a variety of things like reviews, recipes I tried, life happenings, musings, and photos. But when I felt like I should take the next step with my photography, I transitioned it over into a photography blog. I didn’t want to have two blogs (I can barely keep up with one along with all the other stuff I do online), and I was already posting photos anyway, so why not?

Since I had been following several photography blogs for a couple of years, I felt like I had to do certain things in order to progress. If I wanted to take senior portraits, I needed to post a lot of portraits and remember my clients and future clients might be reading when I blogged. I started feeling more pressure and questioning myself about every post–were my photos professional enough? Was I keeping with the blog’s theme of photography? Was I posting enough portraits vs. other types of photos? Was I getting too personal or off topic? Even though I have continued to post about more than just photography, I have felt a little guilty every time, like I was being unprofessional.

Meanwhile, my photography “business” (if you can call it that) is not exactly taking off. I never meant to go full time with it (at least not at this point in my life), but I guess I thought I would get a few more portrait sessions than I have. In some ways I’ve held back from marketing myself, and in others I have made uncomfortable efforts that didn’t seem to matter at all in the end. I have sought out clients for high school and college senior portraits, but I’ve gotten more requests for photographing families and subjects that aren’t necessarily the direction I want to take. It just hasn’t gone as I imagined.

The funny thing is, I’m not even really sad about it. The more I get into a business mindset about photography, the less I enjoy it. The truth is, I am not a business woman, and I don’t enjoy that aspect at all. It’s just been a necessary evil. I hate coming up with pricing and handling a sale. Thinking about photo printing and my website can be stressful. Marketing myself can be intimidating and uncomfortable. I’m tired of trying to keep up with what I’m “supposed” to do to appear professional. I just want to take pictures and make people happy with them.

That’s not to say I should just avoid something that I don’t like. I know we all need to step out of our comfort zones and take on challenges, and I think I’ve done that. I recognize that it’s a lot of work and expense (for my equipment, etc.), and I think it’s reasonable to want compensation for taking people’s pictures. I’ve invested a lot of time, energy and resources into photography to bring myself to where I am, and I hope to continue to improve. I’m still trying to figure out the sort of role God wants photography to play in my life, and how (or whether) to have it as a side job that is still enjoyable for me.

Back to my blog. I’ve been overly concerned with the possible clients or future clients who might be reading, when they probably comprise about .01% of my audience. Most of you reading this (well, I’m not sure anyone is still reading at this point :P) are friends and family members. I know you guys are fine with whatever I post, and you can read it or skip it as time and interest allow. So I’m going to stop worrying about the business side of things. I want to get more personal.

I don’t anticipate this meaning much noticeable change for my blog at first, but over time I hope things evolve into something more comfortable and more me. In saying this, I’m hopefully taking pressure off myself which should give me more blogging enjoyment. Yays all around!

Anonymous Commenting

Lately I’m getting way too many spam comments on my blog, so I’m turning off anonymous commenting. I think most of you who comment on this blog have an account and therefore it won’t matter to you, but if some of you are used to commenting anonymously, I’m sorry about that! I’m just sick of getting 10+ spams per day (not counting the ones that end up in my junkmail box automatically).

The other option is to turn the security code entry back on, and I didn’t think you’d like that option, so I went with the setting that affects the least amount of commenters. 🙂

I hope you’re having a nice weekend!

PS: Follow my blog with Bloglovin


I’ve been using Pinterest more lately, and thought I’d share a few of the clever and funny things I’ve come across. There’s lots of stuff to pin (recipes, craft ideas, fashion, tips/hints, etc.), but these are some instantly entertaining things I have on my “Clever-adorable-awesome-funny” board. (I’m really good at naming boards.)

I’m an introvert!

Mine was!

Hi, Lori!

Hi, R!

Yes, I do have two Lionel Richie references. My friend and I often joke about the head sculpture from the Hello video.

Have a good week!

More frost

Here are some photos from the other day. It hasn’t snowed, but after several days of fog and freezing temperatures, the frost was building up on everything. I’ve enjoyed it much more than rain!

All of the spiderwebs became strings of ice, and they were much more pronounced on the trees and bushes. You can see it draping down on this tree, and there’s a string of web hanging vertically on the right side.

Of course I checked back on some mushrooms, while I was in the area.

More complete spiderwebs.

A mushroom family huddles in fear as a gang of teenagers approaches.

So orange.

The underside.

Cooold little mushrooms.

In other natural news, did anyone see the lunar eclipse? I didn’t wake up for it. I’m not even sure how visible it was here with the fog and clouds. I’m a little sad, but I have seen them before, and will see more again.


I’m 35 today! I don’t feel it, but I’m starting to get used to not feeling my age. To celebrate, I thought I might share some things about myself that don’t relate to photography, so here are 35 facts:

1. I used to work at McDonald’s.

2. My first car was a 1969 VW Bug.

3. I prefer milk chocolate over dark.

4. I was on a jumprope team when I was 6.

5. Being on said team led to my first plane trip (at age 6)–we flew to Colorado for the national jumprope competition.

6. I used to own a snake–a red-tail boa–and he grew to about 7 feet long before my parents found a new home for him since I was in college and not really around.

7. I’m a shorty at just over 5’1.

8. All of my education was in public school, aside from one semester at a private college.

9. I prefer all red meat to be well done. It should be brown meat.

10. I moved back in with my parents four times since the first time I moved out at age 18. 😛

11. But now I’ve been out of their house for 6 years. It’s a new record!

12. I don’t like coffee.

13. I’ve been at my current job for almost 6 years, which is the longest I’ve ever worked at the same place.

14. My bachelor’s degree is in communication studies with an emphasis in organizational communication.

15. I’m the middle of three sisters.

16. I’m an INTP. (Some of that description does not match me, but this particular part is pretty much me: “The INTP is likely to be very shy when it comes to meeting new people. On the other hand, the INTP is very self-confident and gregarious around people they know well, or when discussing theories which they fully understand.”)

17. I’m having a lot of trouble coming up with 35 facts about myself! This is hard.

18. I was born and raised in northern California, but I have also lived in Nevada, Oregon (duh), and temporarily in Texas (one semester) and New Hampshire (if a two-month stay with my sister counts…I say it should!).

19. Growing up, we had several pets including various dogs, a cat, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds and fish. I’m not really into pets now, though–too much responsibility.

20. I have 9 nieces and nephews. They call me “Tia” because my sisters decided to have their kids refer to aunts that way, even though we’re not Spanish-speakers. I can’t remember all of the reasoning now. 🙂

21. I grew up in the Lutheran church, but now I’m a member of a Baptist church. I’m not particularly tied to any denomination. I am tied to Jesus Christ. 😀

22. I’ve sung in three church choirs for a total of at least 10 years in church choir. PS I’m an alto (although I took voice lessons for 6 months and was told I’m a soprano…I probably am if I’d sing correctly :P).

23. I’ve been on several road trips and have visited 42 US states and 6 Canadian provinces.

24. I bite my nails. 😦 It’s a lifelong battle.

25. It’s too hard to choose favorites of practically anything, but some of my favorite books are Catcher in the Rye (J. D. Salinger), This Time of Darkness (H. M. Hoover) and Z for Zachariah (Robert C. O’Brien).

26. Some of the TV shows I loved as a kid were: The Brady Bunch, Three’s Company, Webster, Facts of Life, Who’s the Boss?, Saved by the Bell, The Cosby Show, and Gimme a Break. Despite the size of that list, I didn’t like watching TV all that much, and still don’t.

27. As an adult, the shows I’ve enjoyed most over the years are Friends, Jeopardy, The Office, Chuck, Veronica Mars and Alias (which I watched entirely on DVD after the series had ended). I’m not really into reality shows unless it’s to bash them.

28. Continuing on with this theme, the movies I watched the most as a kid were Annie and Grease. Sometimes I would quietly sing Hopelessly Devoted to myself on the playground when I was 6. I’m so cool! I wanted to sing like Sandy. And Annie.

29. My current car is the first/only one I ever got brand new, and recently (October 13th) I hit the tenth anniversary of purchasing it! It still feels like a “new car” to me, but obviously it isn’t.

30. I’ve worked for three universities.

31. My favorite flowers are gardenias.

32. I LOVED swimming when I was a kid (still do, but don’t get much of an opportunity).

33. Some of my favorite games are Scrabble, Cribbage and Trivial Pursuit (or any sort of quizzing game).

34. Typing was one of my most useful high school classes. I’m a pretty fast typist, and I was even able to type people’s papers for pay when I was in college.

35. I just ate a Shari’s Berry that Dania sent me for my birthday! 🙂

WOW, that was hard.

Two years of this

[First sunrise after moving in.]
I moved to my current abode two years ago today. I feel very blessed to live where I do. I was unhappy in my previous place, and that probably boosted my appreciation of this place even more.

The inside is nothing remarkable, but I like it. I have bamboo floors and berber carpet that looks decent even when it needs to be vacuumed. My ceilings are slightly taller than average, so the rooms feel more spacious. I love my bathroom, and the fact that I have so many windows.

But I mostly moved here for the view.

Sometimes I will walk by my back door and glance outside thinking how crazy it is that I get to see that from my livingroom, instead of some other person’s apartment, a parking lot or a street.

The scene is always changing, and I’ve tried to photograph every version, as you well know.

Sometimes the lake freezes a little. In the winter I can see more of the water, but in the summer it’s all lush and more private feeling.

In the spring, I have the perfect view of rainbows.

And then there’s the wildlife. I love that I have been able to see so many animals right from my deck. Beavers are always fun to watch in the morning or evening.

One year I even saw an otter. I’ve also seen deer a few times, and of course plenty of squirrels.

I even enjoy nutria sightings, despite how nasty they are.

And then there are the birds…

Having the lake means lots of waterfowl, like herons, cormorants, geese and several types of ducks. (I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “waterfowl” before.)

Of course the mallards hang out year round, along with wood ducks, but in the winter I see several other types.

And when I feel like venturing downstairs, there is more loveliness.

When I move someday, I know I will miss this place, but I’m just glad to have it now. It’s perfect for me. It makes me always want to live on some body of water, though I don’t think that’s very realistic. 🙂

What’s your favorite thing about your home?


Bonus Saturday post!

Happy October to you and you and you! This is my favorite month, so I had to go back and grab some of my photos from Octobers past. Most of these have not been in my blog before.

First, I must wish Nicole Kelly a very happy birthday. That’s my Cabbage Patch Kid! For some reason I always remember her birthday is October 1st, and now she should be turning about 27. Yes, I adopted her when I was at the tender age of 8, on Christmas Day. She came to me as Henreika Kelly, but obviously I had to change that name. What were her biological parents thinking? I have no photos, but this is what she looked like. Now she’s living in California, singing in a band somewhere. It’s hard to keep up with that girl.

Some of the great things about October: colored leaves, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, pumpkin deliciousness, MY BIRTHDAY, apple-y things, the Balloon Fiesta in NM, some of the weather, harvesty things, the fact that it’s not yet the full-blown holiday season, and memories (and hopes!) of changes and happy events that took place in October. For instance:

  • I interviewed for my current job on October 17th in 2005. That day I was offered the job and it meant I’d be moving to Oregon!
  • I moved into a previous apartment with my first roommate (not counting one in a dorm) in October of 2007. (Hi, Holly!)
  • I moved into my current place (which I love!) on October 10th two years ago.
  • I met one of my very good friends on October 23rd of 2007.
  • The first time I ever met someone I had originally met online was October 30th many, many, many moons ago.

What changes does October have for me this year? I’m curious. (Hopefully it’ll be a lot better than last October.)

Tell me some happy Octobery things! 

Is your birthday this month? 

Your anniversary?

Have a nice day!


I felt like saying hi. 🙂 I had a good weekend. I have several photos, but here’s just one from the Bellevue Botanical Garden in Washington.

I went up to the Seattle area to celebrate my friend’s birthday. I played a lot of games, won a couple of them, ate at The Cheesecake Factory (I haven’t been in probably 1.5 years!), went to that garden and had a very good time overall. I’m sad that I have to go back to work tomorrow. And right now I’m very sleepy and I think I’ll go to bed early.

How was your weekend?

Journaling and blogging

For over ten years, I’ve been journaling elsewhere on the web, in a more secure environment. It’s more comfortable to write there, knowing only certain people can read my posts. My many, many, MANY posts. I’m quite the Chatty Cathy there.

I wish posting here were as easy. I tend to get a little paralyzed by the fact that anyone can read this blog. Not because I want to share my darkest secrets, but I just feel more vulnerable to criticism. I feel like I need to check my facts and grammar much more closely here, for instance. I’m not sure what I’m afraid of–some stranger commenting about my poor sentence structure?

Also, I feel I have to think about future photography clients (if they exist), and be choosy about which photos I post and how I conduct myself. It’s difficult to find the balance between professionalism and personalization. Add that to the fact that I feel pressure to keep my focus on photography. I guess I don’t feel the freedom to just talk about life unless I’m incorporating decent photos.

But I’m probably being silly and making unreasonable rules for myself. As a result, I’m afraid I may err on the impersonal side, which often translates into blandness.

So. What’s the point of this? It’s just me being me, and you being okay with that. 😉 I am hoping to give myself a little more freedom here, which might mean more text and fewer pictures. It might mean topics that aren’t photography-related. It might mean I post more than you want me to.

Or I might chicken out and leave everything the same.

Quick info

>> I finally got fairly caught up on comments here. I basically went back and checked all of my August posts and left responses on most of them. I’m sure there are many posts in the past where I didn’t respond to your nice comments (or even questions!) and I’m sorry about that. Anyway, if you subscribe to the comments, you’ll see them in your inbox. Otherwise, you may want to check back if you were wondering if I’d respond.

>> I was asked about making my blog more mobile-friendly for those of you using smartphones and iPads. Well, I think there are more complicated things I can do for better results, but for now I added a link at the top of my blog that takes you to a small list-version of my blog entries that is apparently easier to manage on a mobile device. I don’t have a smartphone or iPad, so I wouldn’t know if it’s very helpful. 🙂 It doesn’t seem to help with commenting at all, so probably not.

>> Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it.

>> Tonight I saw three baby beavers swimming by! But they were too fast for me to photograph.

>> Happy September! September begins Birthday Season, since I have soooo many friends and relatives with birthdays in the next couple of months. I once read October 5th is the most common birthdate in the US, so I guess it’s no surprise that this time of year is popular. (Fun fact: I don’t know anyone born on October 5th.)

>> Is birthdate one word or two?

>> Here’s a photo to liven up this post. Kind of.