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!

Project 52 (46-48)

I guess I should catch up on these!

46: This dragonfly hung out on my screen door for awhile.

BONUS: Here’s the other side, if you’re curious.

47: I picked up a couple of new sauces to try. (Then I placed them in my cart and paid for them before bringing them home.)

48: L on a walk through a foresty park on the coast.

I have to say, I won’t really mind when this project is over. For some reason I have an addiction to taking on photo projects, but I tend to get burnt out on them after awhile. It’s not like I don’t already take plenty of photos, right? But we’re practically on the home stretch now. Maybe my next photo project should be to not take on a photo project.

PS: Anyone else hating the Blogger changes? I have to add my own html breaks now, apparently.

PPS: Tomorrow it’s back to work after 6 days off (counting the weekend). I don’t mind too much, but can I please sleep in first?

PPPS: L is home safe.

The niece

I feel so out of touch with this blog! Lately things have been much busier in my life, and not just due to my niece’s visit. But she is here now (soon to leave :() and I will post photos eventually.

Today, after I fixed her hair while we watched Legally Blonde, we did a photo shoot with a few different outfits. This dress was actually an eBay purchase that ended up running very small. It looks great on L, though! Isn’t she cute?

Though I’ve had a lot of fun the past few weeks, I’m looking forward to a bit more routine. I want to get back into the swing of blogging (I have several things to tell you) and catch up on email.

I hope you had a nice Father’s Day. Have a great week!

Thankful Thursday

I don’t have time for a big list, but today is my niece L’s 13th birthday! I’m so thankful for her. 🙂 🙂

L was my very first nephiece. For the first half of her life, she and I lived in the same city (sometimes in the same house!) and I got to spend lots of quality time with her and her younger sister, K. I have a lot of happy memories of watching them grow, and they (along with my other nephieces) are one of my favorite gifts I’ve received in this life! Being an aunt is a huge blessing. And if I keep talking about this, I’m just going to start bawling. 😛

Since she was born before I got a digital camera, I don’t have any baby photos handy, but above are some photos over the years. She’s the girl of many hairstyles!

I can’t do a birthday post for every nephiece on every birthday, but 13’s kind of a big deal. Maybe I can start that tradition, at least.

Happy birthday, L. 🙂 🙂 I can’t believe you’re now a teenager and taller than me. I can’t wait to see you next week (she’s coming to visit me!!).

UPDATE: R sent me some baby photos of L!

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

Project 52 (45)

Mom cutting herbs for me to take home. Thanks, Madre! I can’t believe that was (practically) a week ago.

I’ve been very productive today! I’ve mostly been working on laundry, and it’s so nice to have lots of fresh clothes to wear. I don’t know how I own so many clothes and accumulate so many dirty ones, but I can’t imagine keeping up with a whole family. Mom, how the heck did you do it? And I used to whine and procrastinate about putting away the clothes she so nicely folded. I was an awesome daughter.

Memorial Weekend Road Trip

Okay, I finally got together some photos from my weekend. Some of these are snapshot quality, which I try to avoid in my blog, but I’ll get over it.

Early Friday morning, my friend Katrina and I headed south. This is just a typical Oregon scene.

I think Katrina actually took this one while I drove. This is how it looked over the pass. The roads were fine, though, thankfully.

I had to show a photo of Katrina to prove she was with me. 🙂 This is when we stopped for lunch at a Subway in Weed, CA. There was some snow on the ground here, which was also surprising.

Rainbowy semis.

We arrived in Yuba City around 2:30 and went our separate ways. I was so tired that I was very lazy at my parents’ house that night.

For dinner, my dad nicely cut the corn off the cob. He does it because I’m whiny about eating corn on the cob (too messy!), but I think he and my mom probably enjoy it off the cob too. 🙂 Come on, admit it.

Sorry if raw meat bothers you. I had specifically requested these steaks that my dad used to buy at Costco–they are all twirled up with stuff inside. But I didn’t realize my dad no longer has a Costco membership, so he made them himself! I just thought the fresh/uncooked version might be interesting to see.

And here they are cooked up. Deeeeeeeelicious.

Saturday morning. After asking my dad about whether he had purchased any new koi recently, he suggested we check out a koi farm about 30 minutes away (outside of Lincoln). These are all the pools with koi of various prices.

The man who owns the farm (a very nice and friendly guy who obviously loves koi) would scoop out our selections and other suggestions so we could examine them more closely before choosing what to buy. We bought two of these fish–the solid white one at the top we named Dovey. At the bottom there we bought that small yellow-headed one next to the larger orange one. I loved him so much! I named him Billy Idol. Aren’t all the fish so pretty? It’s especially apparent when you’re just focused on them in this blue bowl. Some have glittery backs and others almost look fake they’re so perfect and healthy.

We also bought two others–Creamsicle and Mexico–from a different pool, and I have a photo of at least one of them later on.

The scene near the koi farm.

After picking out fish, we went to lunch at Cilantro’s. I had the chicken sopaipilla. SO GOOD.

I like to go around taking photos of my parents’ yard, since they often have various flowers blooming.

One of their dogs, Rocky, likes to think this grass was planted specifically for him.

There were lots of hummingbirds.

Sorry for some of these repeats from the Instagram post!

There are lots of pond pictures because I was trying different times of day and angles. It’s very hard to photograph into water when you’re outside!

No, that’s not koi! It’s salmon, squash and more of that pinwheel steak. This was Saturday’s dinner.

You can feed koi several times per day in the summer.

Sometimes the birds use the pond for a bath.

This was a pretty shade of dragonfly!

Here’s one of the new fish, Mexico.

He’s the only one in the pond with blue on him (I think).

No, that’s not koi! It’s pork, green beans and cauliflower (my dad grilled it.. it was good!).

The jasmine smelled soooooooooooooooo good.

Thanks for looking through these! 🙂 Happy June!


Did I mention I am on Instagram? I can’t remember if I’ve posted anything from it. Most of you are familiar, but if not, it’s just an app that you can install on your smartphone so that you can take photos, add little artsy/moody effects, and then Tweet or Facebook about them. It’s also [yet] a[nother] social network,  so you can also follow your friends who also use it, and their photos will show up in a little feed.

I’m GreengatePhoto if you use it and want to add me. Or you can just go look at my photos here. I don’t take all that many (yet).  (I have no idea why you can’t just go to to view photos…if anyone wants to enlighten me, please do.)

Anyway, here’s a screencap of some of my more recent photos…

From left to right, starting at the top row:

1. Walmart was giving out cloth bags today.
2. Some mashed potatoes and ham that I made.
3. A large slug (at the top, see?) at the Ankeny Wildlife Refuge. I guess it’s slug season, and there were dozens out on the path, ranging in size from about 4 to 6 inches.
4. Some irises at work. I haven’t been very attentive to them this year, and didn’t even go to the iris garden (though it is still open).
5. Shrimp on the barbie at my parents’ house.
6. Every year my parents have a regular red dragonfly that flies around the pond, and pretty much every year I take lots of photos.
7. Some jasmine from my parents’ yard to make the guest room smell pretty.
8. On my drive down to CA last weekend it looked like this over the pass!
9. Delicious Padington’s pizza!
10. Colored popcorn at Target.
11. The tulip farm.
12. View to a coworker’s office. I try to wave to him when I pass on the path behind it, so I took a photo that day to show his daughter (a friend of mine).

Are you on Instagram?

Have a great Friday!

Project 52 (44)

I got a bit behind on this again! This is a slightly long-exposure of my parents’ koi pond. I was holding the camera, so it’s not quite in focus, but it wasn’t meant to be technically perfect anyway. Feeding and watching the fish is a fun summertime activity for my parents (and me, when I visit!). The koi are very active in the warmer months and they provide plenty of entertainment. And yes, they all have names! I’ll talk more about this when I post about my trip.

Here’s something pretty fascinating: koi can live over 100 years in the right conditions. Apparently the Japanese refer to them as “living jewels” because they are passed down in families. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia: One famous scarlet koi, named “Hanako” (c. 1751 – July 7, 1977) was owned by several individuals, the last of whom was Dr. Komei Koshihara. Hanako was supposedly 226 years old upon her death, based on examining one of her scales in 1966.

Can you imagine having a fish that was around in the 1700s?? That’s craze. Mom and Dad, which koi are you passing down to me? Maybe they’ll live long enough that in like 2118 they will be the old-fashioned fish surrounded by koi wearing space suits.


Happy (?) Memorial Day!

I have been in California visiting my parents. I have more photos to show you later, of course–this is just some dessert from tonight. It’s been a relaxing weekend of time outdoors, new koi for my parents’ pond, catching up on House Hunters episodes, eating delicious food, playing games and chatting it up.

Oh and tonight I said grace before dinner, and I accidentally ended my prayer with “Goodnight,” instead of “Amen.” And then I very reverently burst out laughing. I guess I was done talking to God for the day!