Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday Sparks - Reflections and Mirrors


Photographers traditionally try to find the best ways to delete or avoid reflective surfaces in a photo, but lately I've gained an interest in photos not of the subject itself, but a reflection of that object in some other surface. Water, a mirror, a building, windows/glass or maybe even a car.

City Refraction, City Reflection


Mirror mirror on the wall.

Chicago Bean with Kippah

(all above photos do not belong to me, click on the photo to see and comment on their work)

There are thousands of ways you could find a reflective surface that can become your subject. Correction: there are ways that you can find a reflection of your subject in a reflective surface. If you think about it, this can open up a whole (twice as much!) way that you can see your subject and capture them from a whole new different angle.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are feeling uncreative with the scene in front of you, turn around, look up or down and see if there's a way to capture what you're seeing in a reflection. This could been a reflection of just the subject itself, or your subject and the reflection at the same time.

Maybe you'll even plan ahead and take a reflective surface with you (like an antique hand mirror or a compact. Maybe a chrome hubcap or an iphone even. (this is where I fail, I kinda just roll with the punches).

So lately, I've been trying to remember to look around me and see what is going on behind me, below me etc. In fact, I've even noticed on the past few weddings that we've done, that Gene is looking at reflective surfaces in a new way. In fact, he's been shooting through thick or distorted glass to get a different look. (he's still learning, but very creative in some ways)

Here are some recent shots over the last year where I really liked how the reflection played into the photo itself.




This photo is probably my very favorite reflection photo so far. See how we can tell a whole story, in a smaller space in one simple shot? Yeah, this will probably be the cover to my Rock the Dress album!

If you'd like to see other Thursday Sparks inspiration posts, click here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another door to Narnia?

So apparently I have too much space in my kitchen.
How many people do you know that say that?

Either too much space, or I'm a space case. Many of you know that we're living in a house we're remodeling slowly on our own. It's been going well, and the kitchen is *almost* finished. We added a whole wall of cabinets, a desk, an island, a beverage fridge in the island along with a prep sink, new appliances, blah blah. Lots of work.

When we got the fridge last winter ('09) we had to take out an old cabinet and put in a new one to make room.

A WHOLE YEAR ago. *this is important*

So the other day I was looking for something that I don't remember right now what it was. I knew it was in a drawer someplace so I started digging. Then, I stood there at the stove and looked down. I thought to myself, what is in that drawer?


(Yes, I still need to put the trim work on the front edge of my counter yet)

Slowly, I opened the drawer to see if my missing treasure was hidden somewhere in this drawer I never use, and lo and behold I found this:


NOTHING! (OK, a booklet, an outlet cover and some crumbles but otherwise, nothing). I had an empty drawer for an entire YEAR and didn't realize it. *shakes head in shame* Meanwhile one spot on my counter was extra congested. It turned into this in about 12 seconds:


Can I have my girl card back now?


(for the record, I have other empty drawers in my house too. Give it time, I'll find lots of junk to stuff them full of!)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Little bit o' green


The down side to burning off all your grass, weeds, old cobwebs and unwelcome critters is that for a while, you look like you live next to a blasting zone, or the beginning of the zombie apocolypse.

The upside is, that in very short order, you're guaranteed a brand new, bright green lawn. (or blasting zone if you will).


Everywhere, peeking up through the blackness, fresh green sprigs of grass that say "ha ha.. didn't get me". (Sadly, there's a few vole hills that are saying the same thing. But we're fighting the good fight in that arena.)

Also on the up side, is that the chickens are in hog heaven.


So much to see.

So much to do.

So much to scratch.

So much to eat!

In very sad related chicken news: We lost our first chickie on Saturday. We have had them almost a FULL year and not one chicken has went to the great beyond.

Saturday, Gene went out to let them out of the coop, and one was dead. One of the black barred rocks. I had noticed that on Thursday evening, one was standing in the nesting box, but I thought maybe she was cold as it was late and chilly. I didn't go back and check up on her again on Friday, so I do feel kind of bad. My gut tells me she was egg bound.

I have to remind myself that they are supposed to be chickens, and not pets, but you can't help but feel bad and get just a wee bit attached to them.

I am hoping though, that maybe soon one will go broody and we can have some baby chicks. Yay chicks!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What's wrong with this picture?



Nuff said.
(oh, and "dammit!!")

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tessa's Senior Photos - Maryville, MO Senior photographer


If you'd like to see more of Tessa's senior photos, you can head over to the Cease Fire Studios blog!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I can fly


Yesterday had it's ups and downs.

Let's start with the downs. My brother-in-law Steve is a truck driver. He was involved in a horrible accident while out driving. He is ok and so is his driving partner, sadly the person who decided to cross the center lane was not. One moment I feel sorry for her, and the next I'm angry for being so irresponsible and putting this burden on Steve for the rest of his life, even though it was exactly 0% his fault. The best I can do is say a prayer that she has peace.... and Steve too.

Not even remotely as bad, but I also had to take the car to the dealership for 2 recalls. Between here and there is not far, but EVERY road seemed to be a detour and tomtom wanted to do nothing but take me down gravel roads. I finally did and about put it in a ditch one road was so bad. It wouldn't have been good. After they worked on it, they told me that they just had to update the software on my car, and trim a piece off my fender liner.


My car needs a usb cord so I could do that from home.

Getting home was a lot less eventful.

The up, which wasn't even as close to as up as the down was "down", was that I sold my very first art print. It was of one of my lightning images. I had posted it on facebook and a guy I went to school with contacted me to buy a print. A big one!

Which only reinforced my feelings that I really want to sell some decorator prints. Getting from point A to point B is going to be about as confusing as my trip to the dealership. However, I'm willing to put in some time in research and development. I need to work on setting better goals and having better time management for myself to make some of my goals happen. I sometimes feel like my ideas far outweigh my ambition. If I could somehow muster the energy, I'd be a millionare.

Now, having said that, I have a wedding and 2 seniors to get out of the gate!

And they're off!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



Today was one of those weird weather days.

We were in a tornado watch, but it was bright and sunny most of the day. The wind wouldn't stop blowing, and at times made scary noises coming through the trees. Then, I hear tap tap tapping on the window, only to look out and see some raindrops. The funny thing was, it was very bright out. I went out to see if there was a rainbow and was pelted with big, fat, cold raindrops that smacked me in the back.

The weather man promised rain, but most of it blew quickly over. When I went out to lock up the chickens, that's when I saw all of the lightning storms well off to our west. Don't worry, as I took these photos, I could look straight up and see stars so I was in the clear.


The above photo, F4, ISO 200, 40mm with a 25 second exposure.


{F4, ISO 200, 40mm with a 25 second exposure}


{F4, ISO 200, 40mm with a 25 second exposure}
I hate to say this, but I kind of wish I'd been closer!
Welcome to Spring!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's officially official!

it's official

Spring is here my friends! Not only are the robins flitting about, the grass is sprouting, but also, I hung my first load of laundry on the line today and it was so nice and warm. I wore flip flops and capris. I was impressed that not only did they fit, but they were loose. Nice to see that happen for a change. haha. I've been unable to stop myself from buying dozens of bulbs for the garden that may never happen. You know, maybe a hundred - which exactly 13 will get planted. I have lifted my ban on peonies though. Being a wedding photographer, you get a soft spot for beautiful peonie arrangements. I'll just learn to live with the ant part.

This weekend was great! I want another go around!

  • Bought my new camera (not on amazon tho, on ebay). I got it about an hour after my old 30D sold. good by 30d! (it's going to Russia!)

  • Finished the backsplash in my kitchen (will share photos soon). It's purdy. I still have a tiny bit of trim work to do. The kitchen is the one room in the house that's pretty much finished. Only 8 more to go!

  • Worked on the bookcase/bar in the dining room. I'm going to be SO GLAD when that project is finished. *really* Having problems matching some stain. I'm thinking about yelling about it. Stay tuned.

  • Friends came to visit (told you about that earlier). We had fun, it was nice having visitors. Sometimes, I feel a little like a troll under a bridge out here.

  • Watched many many hours of a legend in the photography industry online, Bambi Cantrell. I learned more in a couple hours than I've learned in 3 years. I ended up buying the whole shebang so I don't miss anything, and so I can digest it a little at a time.

  • Tanner has been working furiously on the yard. He'll come home from school, drop his stuff and go outside for a couple hours to work. he's edged my sidewalk and put up some barrier. Cleaned out from under the deck (you wouldn't believe all the junk that gets under there!) and cleaned it off. We're going to paint it this summer (sarcastic yay). I don't NEED to always be so ghetto fabulous, even though I seem to wear it well.

Today: wind. and rain. and I'm kind of glad (for the rain part). I feel like everything needs a good washing.

Now if I could just figure out where that musty smell is coming from!

1...2....3... "Say mac and CHEEEESE!"


I've talked about Daniel Dunlap and his family before a few weeks ago. He's a fellow photographer from Council Bluffs, Iowa. We met online in a photography group and we tend to complain about most of the same things. Correction... I complain, and he mostly agrees.

He presented me a challenge around a year ago when I commented on a photo of his daughter on facebook. "You get her to look into the camera, I challenge you."

Game on.

So a couple weeks ago, I had a issue I needed to sort out, and Dan's one of those guys that knows just enough to get you in trouble. He volunteered to come all the way to lowly Missouri and help me fix it! All I had to offer was a stack of fat T-bones.
*he took the bait!*

So Saturday, they came down early and went to Stoney Creek for a little get away. We went down to have dinner with them, and I started turning on the charm with little Alayna immediately because I knew I'd be taking her photo at some point.

Over dinner Dan and I had this conversation:

Dan: "I'm never going to photograph another photographer's wedding."
Lana: "Yeah, me neither. Talk about pressure."

around 18 hours later:
Dan: "So you'll take our picture right?"
Lana: *eek*

(well, not exactly like that, but you know....)







I want the record to show, I got several shots of Alayna looking at the camera several times.

I also made a new little BFF. I'm going to talk her into spending the summer with me. I'm confident it'll work.. I have a pool. I might have to rent a pony tho.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Burn baby BURN!

Last weekend Gene and I worked on the bookcase/bar most of the weekend. A "project" we considered but put off because we couldn't babysit it and do master carpentry (that was sarcasm) at the same time, was burning off the second acre.

We have 2 full acres, one of which we do nothing with. No mowing. No planting. Nothing. We're just redneck enough to pull that off. ;) The original reason was because it was just too much to push mow (that's all we had when we moved here). After a while, we kinda got used to it.

However it gets a bit unruly and we feel like it should be at least taken down to bare ground once in a while if nothing else to scare away the voles (which doesn't work).

So, Wednesday we had a meeting at Tanner's school and didn't get home until late. This is what saw as I pulled in my driveway:


YIKES! My yard is gone and my chickens were all huddling in the corner of the coop. "What did we dooooo??? Our life is off kilter! Helllpppppp usssss!"

I was only annoyed for about 15 seconds. You see, a few days before, I'd gotten my new dress form I bought specifically to shoot vintage wedding dresses we're selling online. I thought it would look so cute to take the dress form out into the tall grass.

Yeah.... notsomuch anymore.

So I thought about it a day or two, and then decided to run with it.



This is called "Wedding in the apocolypse". I think it's an awesome theme don't you? The minister can be a zombie and they can serve tiger blood.

(is that joke dated already? too soon?)

However, the chickens?


They're thinking "tasty tasty apocolypse."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"I deeply disapprove of your heavy use of photoshop actions"


"Step away from the keyboard ma'am"

(vintage action by pioneer woman, 135mm, f2, ISO 200, 1/8000th sec, Model: Rufus the rooster)

Friday, March 18, 2011



If you want to feel like you're doing something, go here. Donate. Even just a little.

I'll be back tomorrow.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday Sparks - Painting with light

Don't think I haven't found some irony in this weeks Thursday "Sparks" being painting with light.

Lately I've been seeing some really incredible photos with mysterious light orbs, lines, patterns, etc. Intrigued by how they did it, I started to investigate further. All images involve a long exposure and some sort of object that creates light. The combinations seem to be absolutely endless.

Hiding on the shore

Orbs seem to be a common theme. No idea how it's done. Must investigate further.


If you can make art at night...

Flying sparks are made by burning steel wool and spinning it on a metal leash. Yeah, that sounds scary to a chick with lots of hair.

Alien invasion

Bride & Groom + Fire

This is Ben Godkin, he's on a wedding photography group I'm in. It's awesome to see how he incorporated this into their wedding day. Hmm, I have a WHOLE BUNCH of sparklers left from my wedding.

Experimenting in my future.

But this guy, is by far, the king of lightpainting. Straight out of the camera shots most of the time.

Fourth Dimensional Vision


Forgotten Places

If you want to learn more, or see more photos you can check out a Lightpainting group on flickr

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stuff that rocks - Eagle cam


Norfolk Botanical Gardens has a really wonderful bald eagle nest cam. Currently there are 2 eaglets and a 3rd egg that should be hatching at any moment. If you watch for a little while, you'll see her get up and feed the little ones.

It's also very distracting.

Sorry about that part ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Even the goldfish is going green

Important info to note:
  1. Rats live in Tanner's bedroom on his desk
  2. Rats love seeds.
  3. Rats love to knock over the food and kick it around.
  4. Rats cage is right next to the fish tank
  5. Even goldfish have green "thumbs" (fins).


Makes you kinda wanna say "go seed go!"
It also kinda makes you want to set up a hydroponics system.

not really.

Sumthin' to crow about







{now, one more time, but with more feeling}

Monday, March 14, 2011

My un"bear"able former life

03-13-bears4 03-13-bears5

So Saturday, I told you about my teddy bear, and while doing so, I mentioned that I used to make bears for a living.
Now I use the term "for a living" quite loosely. I made bears, people gave me money, the "living" part was where we get iffy. I did OK, not crazy amazingly well, not enough to feed myself and my family, but I did pay the light bill on a fairly regular basis with my income. {Photography has been much better to me.}
I remembered I had some old files on my computer for my former website, and these photos were tucked away to be long forgotten.

I mainly made miniature bears. All the bears you see here {except for the one at the top} are all miniature bears. The tallest bear (or critter) is around 3" tall, the smallest weighing in at around 1.25"


I couldn't tell you how many bears I made in that 11 years I was designing. (I designed all my own patterns). I would guesstimate well over a thousand. Bears helped me travel all over the place, in fact I even ended up at a bear show in England a couple times.



I was published in some bear mags a few times (yes there are/were teddy bear mags!) and I even was nominated for the Oscars of Teddy bears. "The golden Teddy" in 1999. I didn't win, but I did win a glass city award around that same time.

Eventually, I burnt out. The idea of picking up a needle and thread kinda made my eyes bleed, and I was really getting into scrapbooking at the time. There was no big good-bye, no last hurrah. More like a pop and a fizzle.
{Insert the sound of a whoopee cushion}

Most of the awesome stuff has found new homes, and once in a while, I'll see one of my old bears pop up on online stores or ebay. However, I do have a few of my own pieces still. Mack loves them - if he can sneak in, he'll act like a kitten and bat them all over the place. (He used to steal finished pieces right off my work table!)

Once in a great while, I consider making a piece or two - then I regain my senses. :p

So if you're a mini bear maker, let me know. I have admitted to myself it's time to let my bear making supplies go *gasp*

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