4 Simple Ways to Rest and Recharge Your Creativity

Everyone needs rest every once in a while. We need rest from our work, responsibilities, stress, or illness. Artists are no different. Sometimes we need a chance to recharge our

creative energies and that can happen by simply resting from our normal creative outlet and doing something else.

There are lots of ways people like to rest. Taking time for yourself and doing something unproductive for a day is not only really enjoyable, it is necessary for us to be able to give our best during the busy times. Bubble baths, reading good books, and solving crossword puzzles are popular choices and I certainly endorse them all. But here are some of my favorite ways to rest, relax and recharge.

1. Binge Watching

When I really want to be inspired creatively, I love certain photographers on Youtube, such as Peter McKinnon, Sean Tucker, and Ted Forbes at The Art of Photography and his artist series. Really any artist that inspires you will work.

If just an escape is all I want then I love watching uplifting Netfix or free on demand movies. When my mood is lifted, I feel more energized and inspired. I love christian movies like God’s Not Dead, I Can Only Imagine, and War Room. They are excellent mood lifters.

2. Bible Study and Journaling

I love studying my bible. I am continually amazed at the revelations I receive each time I read it. I also find bible study very relaxing. It calms my mind and helps me to understand the world around me when life gets overwhelming. Plus, as an art lover, my interests are not limited to photography. God’s word has been the inspiration to countless works of the greatest art ever created and can really inspire me to create tiny works of art on the pages of my journaling bible. I use a variety of art supplies, but my favorites are watercolor paints and colored pencils.

3. A Cozy Blanket

Any true day of rest for me includes my favorite snuggly blanket. A good friend made it for me as a Christmas gift many years ago and no other blanket is anywhere near as cozy.

4. Sheldon’s Right:

A Warm beverage is perfect to calm the nerves and unwind. I love all of them. Coffee, tea, hot cocoa, Apple cider, you name it! As I write this I’m battling a little cold and sore throat and my favorite tea is Traditional Medicinals Teas Throat Coat.

So there it is. My favorite ways to relax. What do you like to do when you are relaxing? I would love to hear from you! Have a great week.

Return to Pine Mountain

I did it! I made it to the summit and I didn’t die of heat stroke! In July, I hiked a portion of the west loop trail of Pine Mountain. 

View from Archer’s Overlook

This time, I paced myself and planned my hike for a slightly cooler time of day. I felt really discouraged that I had gotten so badly out of shape, that I vowed I would go back and make it to the top next time.

The incredible view was a sight for sore eyes. And legs, and back…
From the summit, the view of Plant Bowen. Very close to where I live.
View of Lake Allatoona
My triumphant selfie!

I would love to return in the fall for some beautiful fall colors photos!  Part of the reason I started this blog was because i wanted to share my photos and see your photos, too. I would love to see your summer hike photos! You can share any style of photography: landscapes, macro, family pics, anything! Please share!

My Favorite Photography Gear

As I introduce myself (check out “Who Am I?” if you haven’t already), I wanted to show you some of my favorite tools and equipment whether I am outdoors on a photo-hike or slumming at home. My DSLR camera is the most obvious, so I wont be starting with that, but you can check out the link above if you are interested. There are links to products on this post and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I just have to let you know.

Traveling light is a pretty big priority for me, so this list should be short, but somehow it is kind of long. Sorry about that. Ok here it is. Drumroll, please….

Cell Phone- Whether I am at home or out and about, I love how handy my cell phone camera is! It’s small and light, its always on hand, and I think it takes really nice pictures. I use the Lightroom App sometimes for those shots where I really want more manual control. It lets me choose ISO, aperture, and shutter speed! I also do almost all of my editing in LR.

Another nice thing about my cell phone is the huge array of apps to edit my photos. I can adjust brightness, contrast, and color. I can add filters, and lens flare and all sorts of cool effects just for fun. In addition to LR, I also love Lens Distortion, Snapseed, and Pixaloop.

I also love the Nikon app WMU for importing my photos directly from my camera to my phone. If you camera has this feature, definitely take advantage of it. I love editing on my laptop in Photoshop and Lightroom, but often the apps on my phone suffice just fine and I can share them immediately!

It’s always nice to listen to podcasts or music on Pandora while I am hiking in Pine Mountain or walking around town in Cartersville. Something about the energy of the music I listen to or the tone of a podcast inspires me to see the world in a new perspective.

When at a loss for good hiking locations, Hiking Pro app is really handy. It pulls up all the hiking trails in my area as well as reviews, maps, and wildlife information.

Lowepro is kind of known for pretty good quality in camera bag backpacks. They are fairly discrete, lightweight, and well organized inside. I also love that there is room for non-camera stuff, too, like the laptop sleeve. While smaller purse/messenger style bags are more minimalist, I always seem to need more space, so this fits the bill perfectly without being a huge mountaineer camera bag.

Tripods. I have two. One is a 6 foot tripod and mono-pod in one. The monopod is great for photographing local plays and high school sporting events. The normal tripod is really handy for self-portraits and night photography and long exposures. It has a handle and is fairly lightweight so it travels pretty well and it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg.

I also love my flexible tripod. I got mine at Walmart a long time a go and I don’t remember the name brand, but it was about $15 and you can probably still get it there. Basically you can get it almost anywhere, use it in the weirdest configurations because it’s incredibly bendy and its great for self portraits, when I’m on a hike. The last thing I am wanting to haul around the north Georgia mountains is my 6 foot tripod, ya know?

Taken at Pine Mountain on my cell phone using my flexible tripod.

When I travel locally or on vacation, I always bring my DSLR. I can’t help it. Somehow doing without it will drive me totally crazy. So I bring it. But one lens is perfect for everything I will want to photograph, and that is my 18-55mm. It is the kit lens and does everything I want. Wide angles, portraits, night shots, macro, you name it! I also have a 70-300mm kit lens, and it is terrific for landscapes and portraits, but when traveling light, the 18-55 is everything I need it to be.

Taken on the river walk in Savannah, GA at sunset
ISO 6400 F4.5 1/60

Bucket shot on Tybee!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that my family and I made a day trip down to Savannah and Tybee Island recently. I decided that for my birthday, I wanted a sunrise photo on the beach at Tybee Island.

On sunday, we left straight from church and drive to Savannah where we stopped and had dinner on river street. I got some really terrific photos there as you can see below.

We spent the night at Hotel Tybee, right on the beach! We got up around 5:30 and watched the sun rise. I got my bucket shot while the girls had a blast modeling for each other beautiful sunrise portraits. (Yes, I got a few pictures of them, too)

In case you are interested, here is the camera I use! I absolutely love it and it has worked out perfectly for me.

There are links to products on this post and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I just have to let you know.

Who Am I?

I have posted some of my photography so far but I haven’t really done a detailed introduction. So here goes…

Hello from Taylorsville, GA! Don’t know where that is? That’s ok, neither does anybody else. We are in farm country north of Atlanta. Lots of cows. And trees. Sometimes I can hear the donkey up the road. And smell the cattle from a neighboring farm. And yes, I LOVE it. 

Bill is my husband and he can put any jack-of-all-trades seriously to shame. Officially, he is a financial software programmer. It is a fancy title for being an accountant that works in one’s and zeros and is on call all the time. When he isn’t doing that, he is constantly working on something, from appliance repair to chef to seamstress. Oh and a comedian. I would say amatuer, except he gets so much practice. The picture above is from a recent trip to World of Coke in Atlanta. 
We have two kids, both grown and basically out of the house. Will is an EMT and loves outdoor sports. Abigail is in college as a music major and lo as to sing and be impossibly more girly than me. Both of them are sick of me photographing them. So I have to find new subjects. 

We have a dog and a cat, Marley and Triscuit, respectively. Triscuit is the alpha of the house, as I understand to be typical of cats. Marley is, I believe based on his physical and psychological traits, a pitt-lab mix. If you don’t know what I mean by psychological traits, pitbull tend to have a major dopey side, and Marley is no exception. 

That leaves me. I am an avid bible reader and am a complete sucker for apocalyptic end times conspiracy theories. I also love crochet, watercolor, and sketch art which I sometimes share on my Instagram. I keep trying my hand at sewing, but trust me when I say, you don’t want to see that hot mess yet. Photography is the only thing that I’ve gotten pretty good at. But I have not found my style at all. I am always experimenting with tricks, techniques, and tools. 

That is sort of why I wanted to start this blog. I wanted to play around with these ideas I try out and share them with you.  I would love to know who I am talking to, so drop me a line and share a little bit about yourself!

How to Photograph a Toddler

Great day today! Got to photograph my good friend, Anndae’s daughter. She is certainly the tiny life of the party. Her antics the whole time absolutely cracked me up and hopefully will entertain you, my beloved reader.

At some point, most photographers will be asked to photograph a toddler. Whether you regularly do this or it is only the occasional session, the experience is never dull.

Toddlers are just getting to finding their independence and sense of will. Rarely is sitting still in one spot smiling sweetly straight down the barrel of your camera part of their will. One way to counteract this, is to give them something interesting to investigate. It may be as simple as a chair to sit on, or a box to dig around in. You can also encourage playful exploration or their favorite song to dance to!

Savannah sits on a low tree branch with mommy close by.
Toys don’t always work. This is her favorite doll and the theme for her birthday party. Oh well…
Jamming to her favorite song helped her to loosen up a bit.

“Stranger Danger” is God’s wonderful protective internal guidance system that tends to work very much against a well-intentioned photographer. Give them some space. Pressure will only work against you and mom.

Sometimes you just have to let them leave you and wander off on their own. The strategic framing of the shot captured her exploring her world and took some of the pressure off of her. Sometimes you gotta give’em a break and chill a bit.
Stop Driving Your Family Photo Crazy! Do This Instead...

No one, adults included, like to see someone cover their face. To see another human cover up conveys a sense that something underhand or untrustworthy is taking place. We may not always be conscious of why we dislike a person, or thing, often times it is because of the perception that something has been concealed from our view. Think clowns. ‘Nuff said?

Three Costly Mistakes Every Photographer Makes

Toddlers and small children in general are very uneasy the moment you cover your face by hiding behind a wall, blanket, mask, clown makeup, or in our case, a camera with a weird creepy eyeball staring back at them.

Finally, remember the key to happiness: Lowered expectations. Good grief don’t admit this one to the mom of said toddler. But the truth is, if you have ever been around these tiny people, nothing goes as planned or staged or posed. Stop thinking that they will pose like tiny porcelain dolls. They won’t. Creating those beautiful portraits happens not by staging the toddler in the composition. Rather it happens by staging an alluring setting for them and allowing them to move into it on their own terms. And then roll with it. Get what unfolds in front of you.

She finally sat down in the exact spot we originally wanted and we got the “posed” shot we were hoping to get all along.

Long story short, you can’t force the moments to happen with a toddler. You must let them unfold organically. But you can coax the moment into play by giving the child something alluring to capture their attention. While it won’t always work out the way you may have hoped, it will always be something fun and unexpected.

I hope you have enjoyed this updated version of my shoot with little Savannah, she was a hoot to play with and I really enjoyed the long, sweaty process. If you enjoyed this post, I’m so glad and I ask that you hit the “Like” button. If you would like more tips on how to photograph portraits, follow me and leave a comment below.

“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”