1st Ever Photogvember!

I am so excited to announced to you the first ever Photogvember! Every day in the month of November, I am putting out a challenge to the photography community to create a new beautiful image.

An image a day for 30 days. Join photographers from around the globe as we challenge ourselves to take one photo a day in the entire month of November. Why? For ourselves, for our photography community, for fun!

The Rules:
1. Use your preferred camera to create your photos. This does include cell phone cameras, instant camera, DSLR or whatever kind of camera you like
2. Post your photo. Typically people will share via social media, but this is not necessary as long as you are sharing you work to someone else. Showing people helps us maintain consistancy, helps with the creative process, and helps us overcome creative anxiety.
3. A prompt list is provided on this page to assist in the creative process. While this helps to guide our creativity, it is not required.

Photogvember 2019 Prompt List.

You can photograph whatever you like. Please do not share nudity, dead animals, or generally vulgar material. Such material will be removed by the administrator of this page. You can create your own list of prompts.
Please tag your photos! #sharonbrownphoto #photogvember #photogvember2019

Mystery Blogger Award!

Thanks to jesusluvsall of jesusluvsallblog for nominating me for The Mystery Blogger Award. He writes about his faith and serving others through Jesus Christ, his experiences with chronic illness, and also has some great short stories!

Jesusluvsall’s questions for me

  1. What is your blog about? Introduce it for first time visitors. – My blog is about sharing my photography and tips to helps others with their photography. 

2. When you write in your blog, where do you like to be? – At home in my recliner.

3. What is a book or movie that meant something to you recently? – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Not the old one, but the newer one with Ben Stiller. It really spoke to me as a photographer and my inner adventure seeker. Everyone should see this!

4. Who are a few people who inspire you and why? – My husband Bill, because is is always helping people and thinking of others. I am not so selfless. Sean Tucker, a photographer in England that shares a lot of advice about being creative and doing your own thing rather than following trends. Fiona Lark is another photographer. She does fine art photography and it is absolutely beautiful!

5. What is your favorite snack food? Ooooh, anything sweet. I have a terrible sweet tooth. Really bad, I know.

3 Things about me

  1. I am super introverted, but a totally different personality seems to come forward when i am working. I really trip people out when they see me outside of work, LOL.
  2. I have a chronic illness called gastroparesis. It can make me really tired sometimes, but mostly my symptoms are pretty mild.
  3. I am a studio manager at JCPenney Portrait Studios.

My 5 Questions for My Nominees 

  1. Describe your blog in five words and provide a link to your blog.
  2. If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?
  3. Using a GIF, tell us where you live.
  4. Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and add your most recent photo of them.
  5. What verse of the bible inspires you the most at the current time?

My Nominees if they choose to participate. Some are new bloggers so please check them out 

  1. Maddymaddysdigitaldiary.wordpress.com
  2. AllisonA Farm Girl’s Life
  3. Streets of Nuremberg
  4. arv!JaipurThruMyLens
  5. LEANNE COLE
  6. MaggieDreaming of Guatemala
  7. pattimoedP.A. Moed
  8. Ming TheinMing Thein | Photographer
  9. Alex Raphael
  10. Random thoughts
  11. Educated Unemployed Indian
  12. JyotiLive. Explore.
  13. Photography Journal Blog
  14. Jane LurieJane Lurie Photography
  15. Gracie Mgmarchiani.wordpress.com
  16. Cathybetweenthelinesbookblog.com
  17. Tofino PhotographyWelcome to Tofino Photography
  18. Frank HubenyPoetry, Short Prose and Walking
  19. Prior…priorhouse blog
  20. MorganBooknvolume

The Rules

-Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog

-Add the award image to your post

-List the rules

-Answer the 5 questions you were asked

-Tell your readers 3 things about yourself

-You have to nominate 10 – 20 people

-Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

-Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question

-Share a link to your best post(s)

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Small Town Street Photo Tips

This is my town. I love it here. Everyone knows everyone else, and there is character everywhere I look. I used to think Cartersville, GA had no street photography potential. I could not be more wrong!

No, there are no skyscrapers. Nope, no bustling city streets. And thank goodness no crazy dude yelling at an invisible subject while digging through the trash. I know, where’s the fun in that? What do we have to shoot if not for grand city views and over the top interesting characters, right?

The fact is, I have discovered a lot! And there are a few ways to capture the quirkiness and personality of any town. The only thing that really matters is you vision. No plane ticket, no city, no new camera on the market will give you that. It comes from within. Keep reading…

Look up! There isn’t a skyscraper, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting. look at interesting shapes. I had hoped for an interesting reflection in the windows for this shot, but as it was, I liked this pedestrian sign “walking” to a local shop.

link to 30 Questions Tag

Look for pops of red. Ok, so it can be any color really, but red is just so much fun to shoot! I may do a photo project soon where I only photograph one color.

Look for humor. If nothing else, it makes you smile every time you look at it.

Look for inside. I found this terrific little coffee shop called Southern Muggs Coffee, located on main street. But some of my favorite shots were inside the shop after I sat down to rest. Here, I found great color and humor. This speaks to my family particularly. How about you?

Look for the unexpected. Charming subjects pop up all the time anywhere you go. This super cute cat caught me completely off guard. I love this shot.

Keep looking. The world around you is always changing. Just because you have already looked in a spot doesn’t mean you have already shot it. This mural was brand new and no one, including myself, had any idea that this mural was a work in progress!

Tell a story. In most cases, the story unfolds quickly and the moment is fleeting. This man outside the shop was gone literally seconds after I got this shot. I looked up, and he was suddenly there. This was the only shot I got of this scene, so it is a really good thing that I had kept my camera out and was ready to shoot super fast!

“If you want to be a photographer, first leave home.” -Steve McCurry

I hope this post has helped you and that you are able to go forward seeing the beauty of where you live. I hope you will take a fresh look around your town, big or small, with a new appreciation and creative vision. Street Photographer Evan Ranpht once said that we who live in small towns are actually at an advantage that those who live in places like New York or Chicago might never know. I believe this is so true! I agree.

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30 Questions Tag

This is a shout out to Life’s Fine Whine. I loved her post and decided to reply as though she had tagged me, which she technically didn’t. Her blog is all about lifestyle, beauty, travel, and food. Take a minute to check her out.

1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

Everybody just called me Sharon, except my mom, who sometimes calls me Share.

2. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?

I doodle contantly and draw a little bit, so little drawing challenges like Inktober are a lot of fun to me. You can follow my Inktober 2019 drawings on my Instagram stories.

3. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I usually fall asleep fairly easily, but then wake in the middle of the night. I am a little intolerant of lying in bed bored. If I’m not sleeping, I will give up really easily and get on my phone. I play games, watch YouTube, or go on social media to complain that I’m not sleeping. Just being honest.

4. Do people consider you as talkative or quiet?

I am really quiet at first. But once I get comfortable, I get really talkative. I said this to a coworker recently who looked at me like I was lying because he has never seen that side of me. I swear it’s true, though. When people see my quiet side, they tend to think something is very wrong. It’s not. I’m just an introvert.

5. What makes you cry?

I’m hyper-sensitive and tend to think people are mad at me or that I have offended someone. I cry like a total baby. It’s pretty ridiculous.

6. What is your biggest pet peeve?

Rudeness and littering. I mean, Why??

7. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

Not enough. I don’t think about it and then when I do look my hair or makeup is doing something totally crazy.

8. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

That I would be abducted by aliens if I walked the dog after dark. I saw the movie Fire in the sky, and it traumatized me. I still had to walk the dog. I was twelve years old and my parents just thought I was being silly. My poor dog! I would drag him around, nervously nagging him to hurry up, while staring up at the sky. I swore if I saw so much as a flicker, the dog would have to hold it because I would run back inside, dragging him behind me the whole way.

9. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?

The Real Life Ghost Stories podcast and Stephanie Harlowe Coffee and Crime Time on Youtube. Ghost stories and true crime are my jam right now.

10. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?

My husband. He is always helping everyone. I am not so generous with my time and energy, but he sets a great example for me and makes me want to be a better person.

11. How often do you read the newspaper? Which sections?

Newspaper…what’s that?

12. Which animal scares you the most?

I don’t really know, I guess snakes, spiders, and anything truly ferocious, like lions, tigers, and bears, Oh My!

13. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage it head-on?

I am a coward. If I can avoid it at all costs, I will.

14. What was the most recent compliment you’ve received?

My hair. I don’t have it trimmed often enough, so it seems every time I get it trimmed and cleaned up it’s like a makeover, LOL.

15. What question are you tired of hearing?

As a photographer, I get tired of hearing that my camera must take really good pictures.

16. What is the strangest thing you have eaten?

Alligator bites. Sushi. Calamari. I’m adventurous but not too adventurous. Some things I just cannot be convinced to try.

17. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends?

As an introvert, I keep away from people a lot. I have a few friends that I like to talk to, but mostly I hide away at home.

18. Do you have a catchphrase?

“I’m just saying…”

19. What’s your all-time favorite town or city? Why?

Taylorsville, GA. I live here and we are very secluded out in the country. It’s beautiful and peaceful here. The people are wonderful. It’s the perfect place.

20. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

I like both Penelope and Kristen, but I think I look more like a Kristen, so I’ll go with that.

21. When was the last time you lied?

I’m sure it was less than 24 hours ago, but I can’t remember.

22. What’s something that amazes you?

The Bible. It amazes me that no matter how much I read it, I learn something new. and it has me constantly growing and changing and it will probably continue on in that way for the rest of my life.

23. Would you rather be the first person to explore a planet or be the inventor of a drug that cures a deadly disease?

That’s a tough one, because I would LOVE to explore a planet. But I also very mush prefer to keep my feet on the ground. Plus curing a deadly disease would save countless lives. Given my preference for staying grounded, I’ll choose the curing the deadly disease one.

24. What is your favorite amateur activity?

Writingwatching movies and sleeping late.

25. What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?

“Oh no! My alarm didn’t go off and the coffee didn’t auto start!”

26. What is your favorite song (at least at the moment)?

I hate to admit this, but I can’t think of one. As a portrait photographer of toddlers, the only song in my head is Baby Shark. I’m sorry! Not my favorite song.

27. List someone you know, and describe them in 5 words.

Kayla-Sweet. Fun. Clothing Designer. Mommy.

28. You can select one person from history and have them truthfully answer one question. Who would you select and what would the question be?

I would ask God (I hope this counts) why he created cockroaches. I hate them and do not understand why. I could think about this a little deeper but…

29. Which celebrity or artist do you resemble the most?

A few people have told me that I resemble Molly Ringwold.

30. What do you want me to know?

I am very sleepy. I love my sleep.

My Nominees

Anita’s Journal, Helina’s A Hot Mess, Our Little Red House, Westward We Wander, LemanShots, Gail Loves God, Don Urban Photography,

Photography – A Magical Mystery To Solve

As a kid (and even as an adult) i have always really liked the board game Clue. As dumb as it was, I also really like the old Clue movie, lol. I loved collecting the clues and solving the mystery of “Who killed Professor Plum?” Or figuring out that it was Mrs. White in the conservatory with the candlestick. It was, and continues to be a classic.

It recently occurred to me that maybe that is why I love photography. I mean at the core of my passion is the thrill of mystery and following clues to that great shot that it have to make happen. The best shots aren’t in my living room from the vantage point of my recliner. They are out in the world, just waiting to be discovered.

So how do we do that? How are great shots discovered? I usually start with looking for clues to where these shots may be. Honestly they could be anywhere. I can get a nice shot in my backyard, but that gets dull after a while. One clue is where do tourists visiting in my town like to go see? There are museums, and local attractions all over our rural area. And I recently discovered The Rock Garden in Calhoun, GA.

After about a 45 minute drive from my home, and lots of twists and turns on backroads, I found the rock Garden behind the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

This place was amazing! Not because it was large scale or grand. I found it to be amazing because this place was entirely built by volunteers simply out of the love of creating a beautiful place to visit and for children to play. It’s actually being continually growing.

It took nearly no sleuthing at all to discover one of the most magical places I have ever seen and it was practically in my backyard! I hope this will inspire you to sleuth out your own magical corner of the world.

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3 Costly Mistakes Every Photographer Makes

We have all done it. At some point in our photography career, we have all “invested” in our craft only to feel like we are missing something. We do this to ourselves because we want to be great. The promise of getting there the easy way is very tempting. But it is rarely the best way.

These Three Costly Mistakes Every Photographer Makes At Some Point in Their Careers.

Thinking you need an art school degree to make your photography really great. The truth is, while there is much to learn in a classroom environment, you can get all the information you need to create your dream photography portfolio by studying and tons of practice. I learned more in one year of working in a portrait studio than in the previous four years of studying it. Also, the internet is a wonderful thing. And it’s free!

Seeking the approval of other photographers or anyone else. A few years ago, I joined a photography guild of professional and amateur photographers. I paid my membership dues and eagerly brought in 3 glossy prints of my favorite photos from our recent trip to New Orleans for critique. I was fully prepared to have my work ripped to shreds, but also to learn volumes more than what I could get on my own. While I found the input helpful, much of the advice I received from the other photographers seemed mildly helpful at best. Needless to say, I did not renew. But with no refunds, the money was already wasted.

“Investing” in new gear. I’m not talking about only the expensive stuff. Those lenses, lights, and camera bodies cost about the equivalent of a whole human being. We all know that is a money pit that we should be watching very closely. Let’s not overlook how much we nickel and dime things as well. Last winter, while huddling indoors from the cold, I went on a massive pinterest binge. I found photo after photo with this really amazing tool I had never considered. It was a crystal ball refracting an inverted scene. It is also referred to as a “lensball” among photographers. All of the images were so breathtakingly beautiful, I just had to have one. I even tested out the idea by filling a wine goblet with water. I was so enamored with the whole concept, that when my friend and fellow photographer said he had one and how great it was, I rushed on to Amazon.com and ordered one.

As much as I loved the shot I got with my new lensball, I found I rarely used it. It cost me only $15, but it is delicate (I mean it’s lead crystal!), adds weight to my camera bag when I’m on the go, and I never seems to know where I want to store it for safe keeping. The last time I pulled it out was on the beach in Tybee Island and I didn’t even use it then. There is such a wide variety of subject material, I never felt an interest in using it and wound up leaving it in my bag.

What is the last cheap photography gear you got? What was your experience? Please share!

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Develop Your Style with a Nature Photography Legend

For years I have eagerly sought books, blogs, and a plethora of magazine articles on every sort of photography niche from nature to portraits. My latest read is John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography.

Real quick before I go further, this post contains affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

John Shaw is a professional nature photographer and widely respected in the nature photography world. He has written six instructional books, with this one being his most recent, published in 2015. He has received tons of prestigious awards, and recognition in his niche. He is basically considered a photography legend.

So of course I wanted to see what advice he had to give and I was not disappointed! John Shaw’s comprehensive explanation of the process from gear and technical advice to shooting and editing, was loaded with helpful information and very clear to understand without rambling on and on.

While he is exclusively a Nikon shooter, he does make it very clear that brands and buying tons of gear is not the answer to great photographs. It’s in the mind and creativity of the photographer. I really loved that sense of balance because this is something I know to be true and I can always use technical refresher courses. I also like that he shows you what equipment he takes with him out in the field.

I tried to think of something I didn’t like about this book but couldn’t think of anything. So I looked into what some of the complaints on the web were and here is what I found. Some didn’t like that he was exclusively a nikon shooter. This doesn’t bother me at all but I realize this is an important detail to know for some photographers. There were several complaints about the image quality and that his images we flat. I didn’t have a problem with the image quality in the paperback book. But I am not particular about that, either. I care how sharp and clear my images are, but it is not a problem that stood out to me at all. A few more advanced photographers seemed to think the tips and advice he presented was more for amateurs, but as I mentioned before, I am very into refreshers on many of the basics, so this was a plus for me.

My Rating:

If had to give this book a rating, I would give it five camera clicks out of five!

I will definitely be checking out his other books on Amazon.com, listed below:

If you have already read any of these, I’d love to know what you think of them! Please share!

Are You Driving Your Family Photo Crazy? Do This Instead.

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” ~Romans 12:8

My family went to the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, GA not long ago. My family is well aware that my camera pretty much comes with me everywhere we go. So my tendency to irritate, annoy, and aggravate them all on our family trips knows few bounds. I have had to learn a few things, and I am ready to share my tips with you!

Moments like these can seem like an opportunity for our loved ones to learn the drastic significance of preserving these beloved memories…or not. More often, I have come to believe, they are opportunities for me to learn some self-control without abandoning my passion.

Carefully Choose Your Timing

For starters, my timing was not always the best. I’m not talking about light or composition. I am talking about realizing that this bustling tourist attraction is not made for perfect art shots. Strangers were constantly in the way, strolling in and out of my frame, utterly oblivious to my or my family’s existence. This really cramped my “artistic style”. I should have remembered that this was not the time for perfection, but rather about memory making.

Know That Candid Isn’t Always Possible

I rarely want my family looking right at the camera and smiling, but instead prefer candids of them enjoying the moment. This also does not always pan out as the natural reaction for some members of my family is to turn toward me straight on with striking a cheesy pose. Rather than correcting them and telling them to look away, which only results in a distinctively unnatural “candid” pose, I have them make a silly face which Bill is really amazing at.

It’s Okay to Give Up

At some point in our visit, I was definitely getting on everyone’s nerves and resorted to a mini photowalk. I didn’t wander off, but I did back off and focus on the sights, of which I found plenty of subjects. It also gave me a bit of time to play around with settings and composition.

Don’t Forget to Enjoy Yourself!

Ultimately I was able to enjoy our trip to the World of Coca-Cola, where I may have just ruined the trip for everyone involved. I won’t lie. It came kinda close at one point. In the end, our family survived the day in tact.

I hope my slightly hard learned lessons have helped you. If you have any suggestions on how you avoid driving your family crazy with your photography, I would love to hear about it, and I’m sure the other readers would appreciate it, too!

All You Need To Know About Finding Your Photographic Style

Discovering personal style for artists everywhere takes a lot of time and practice and it is something that will evolve over time. I started this whole blog around the desire to find my style. You can read about it here. When I first started, I thought I knew exactly what my style was.

I wanted every photo I took to be light, bright airy romantic. That’s what I saw all over Pinterest and my favorite photographers seemed to all shoot this way. It was so beautiful and I just knew that was exactly what I wanted all of my photos to looks like. It wasn’t long before I noticed that my photos didn’t look like theirs and I really didn’t know why. Then I discovered that my technique was wrong. I had no composition. I had no understanding of what draws the viewers eye into my photos. My “art” was so full of distracting clutter, and my white balance was always just a little bit off.

Today, I am a little wiser and am ready to share some of the things I am learning along the way. I have a few tips that have my journey to acquire my photographic style. I hope these tips will help you, too.

Never Stop Learning

Bad technique is not a style. Learn everything you can about art composition. Learn how to master your camera settings. I’m not saying you have to shoot manual. But if you will learn how to do tell your camera what to do, you will have the best success at capturing the composition you envision in your mind.

Your style will fall into a specific category. Chances are good that you prefer one style over another. Maybe you love portraits more than food photography or street photography more than landscapes. Find what you like and practice that.

Shoot. A LOT!

Shoot at home. Go outside. Explore your local area. Shoot from all angles. Shoot from all perspectives, shoot through, above and below. If possible move around your subject and move your subject around. Photography is better when it is not a stationary activity.  Apply what composition and technical techniques you learned before. 

Go home and critique your work. Consider what you have learned and cull the photos that do not align with your newly refined standards based on what you now understand how to communicate to the world artistically. Reduce your images to the best of the best. 

“I’ve always been drawn to photography and have fallen in and out of love with it many times over the years. Lots of things we see look pretty, however truly capturing the scene that paints a story for the viewer is no easy thing to do. More times than I can count, I have filled my SD card with images I thought were breathtaking in the moment, only to get home and dump 99% to the trash bin because they were snapshots that didn’t inspire the viewer. Beauty doesn’t always translate. It’s up to the photographer to create that story, and it’s that challenge that I keep chasing…” ~ Mike East Northern Colorado Photographer (@meastt09 on instagram)

Pick a style and stick with only shooting that for a while. I love so many different styles of photography that I find this part really tough. Plus I am ADHD, so that doesn’t make it easier. The problem is that I have become a sort of jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. When I took a few months to focus only on portraits and really refined my skills in that area and I know I am becoming a master at portraits. Mind you, I’m not a master, yet, but I am definitely light years ahead of where I was!

Respect your own work. While you may not think your photography is where you would like it. You may wish that your color was better, composition was clearer, or that it just looked cooler. But remember that wherever you are now is exactly where you should be and is way ahead of the next person that just started while you read this post. When you get a shot you like, share it! Accept the complements graciously. Be proud of yourself. You and I and every other photographer know just how much training and effort went into that photo. You should be proud!

No matter where you are in your photography journey, in all liklihood have not completely found your style. But remember that you will. The fact that you are still reading this means that you are seriously committed to evolving and growing.

There are tons more tips around the internet about how to find your style. But I really think it all comes with practice. Have you already made some personal discoveries in your photographic style? Please share the wealth! I really would love to hear it!

PS: By the way, this blog contains affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I do earn from qualifying purchases. I also really appreciate your support of this blog.