by Amanda

Would You Take The Shot?

April 13, 2014 in Behind the Lens by Amanda

I remember stumbling upon a video a couple years ago that ended up leaving a large impact on me as a photographer. At the time when I watched it, I was just thankful I wasn’t going into photojournalism … at least not the kind of photojournalism that would land me in a war zone. That video has been resurfacing in my mind recently and I’m not sure why. I still don’t have any intention of becoming a photojournalist, but I keep asking myself if I were put in a circumstance where I could either A) be a fly on the wall allowing whatever events that were going to happen occur as they would naturally if my presence wasn’t there in the first place and keep documenting them like my job description requires or B) do I step in and follow my moral compass, to help or save another that would result in my potentially putting myself in danger and losing the shot. I’m sure you’re now asking yourself the same question and before you jump to either A or B, I want you to deeply think and consider the consequences of both. I rediscovered the video that brought this to mind originally and I’d like to share it with you so you can fully understand the gravity of what I’m describing.

Kevin Carter was a photographer who took a picture during the Sudan famine in 1993 of a starving child crawling in the direction of a feeding center nearby. A vulture was perched waiting in the background for the child to die so it could prey off the carcass. The photograph won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 and three months later Carter committed suicide due to depression.
We need photographs like this. Why? Because it shows us what life is really like. If we don’t see it with our own eyes the reality of it isn’t going to hit home and sink in enough by just hearing someone tell us or reading a news article. A picture is worth a thousand words. Images like this are supposed to bring to our attention current events and hopefully stir in our hearts compassion and understanding. We can’t just go through life with tunnel vision – only paying attention to our day to day lives and getting lost in various sitcoms portraying a fictional reality because it makes us “feel good”.
If we need photographs like this then we also need people to take them. You wouldn’t be a very good photojournalist if you hadn’t taken that picture. In fact, if you couldn’t press the shutter button in this circumstance or a similar one then you probably should look to other career choices. If everyone had the moral obligation to put the camera down and intervene then no one would know any differently what was happening in the world let alone to the extent of how bad some things may be.
However, if an image like this is meant to create a disturbance in my life – make me live differently, reach out and help those in need in as many ways as I possibly can then I would hold the photographer to the same message he’s trying to convey. He was right there, seeing it happen in the flesh and it’s his obligation to aid in any way he could more so then the rest of us who could be continents away.
I’m not criticizing Carter nor am I criticizing any photographer because at the end of the day if it were me standing there with my camera ready and my finger on the shutter button, I don’t know what I’d do. I’m on the fence. I see both sides. I think if I had been Carter I might have taken the picture and then did whatever I could to help the child. The difference is Carter walked away after he got the shot and no one – not even him – knows what that child’s fate was.
Considering the position of the photographer from the video is a lot harder for me to know what exactly I might do though. Even if she had intervened, could she have prevented not only the girl’s death, but also her own? I’m not completely sure she could have. What would she have done to stop the man? “Shoot” him with her camera?
There are a great many factors to take into consideration and maybe each situation is unique enough to call for different measures, but when it comes down to it would you take the shot?

 

by Amanda

For Better or Worst

April 9, 2014 in From the Heart by Amanda

“Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate”

 - Matthew 19:6

Divorce rates are on the rise and they’ve never been higher. You don’t need statistics in order to see the effects of them in your own life. If you haven’t been there, you know someone who has been. It’s one of the largest tragedies in today’s culture. The source of the cause: self.

                                                        •            

The concept of building a community on YouTube intrigues me greatly. While I was exploring this and watching a handful of YouTubers, I discovered a daily vlogger whose genuineness was refreshing. I subscribed to his channel and began watching his videos everyday for several months. It was hard not to fall in love with how real he was despite being just a bunch of pixels on my computer screen. I had such respect and admiration for his relationship with his wife. Through countless of struggles including brain surgery, she was always there to support him. It felt like you could feel the love and friendship they shared. It was something I hoped for and looked for in my own relationship. He put up a video yesterday announcing the separation of him and his wife. This was shocking and unexpected news for his millions of subscribers, some of who have been with him on his journey throughout the last six years since he started his channel. As a disclaimer, I clearly don’t know all of the personal details in regards to his marriage only the information that he shared in his video. Aside from the fact that I did respect their relationship and to see it ending was a hard pill to swallow, I was disappointed for a few other reasons entirely.

He said that he and his wife had been arguing even more so than usual the last couple months and it was making them very unhappy. They finally decided that their happiness was the most important path to take so they decided to find happiness apart from each other. As he shared this hard news, it felt like the sacredness and commitment of marriage had totally evaporated. Was I hearing this from a married adult man or an adolescent boy in a high school relationship? It came across as if very little effort had been put in to saving their marriage due to the comment.

As a successful and well-known YouTuber, his channel reaches millions of viewers and he has the ability to touch so many individuals’ lives. For those who have also been blessed in this way, they tend to end up being a good role model to those watching. However, I fear the chances of this decision is much more likely to have a negative impact than not.

We are all human and have our struggles, including famous YouTubers. Sadly, no matter who were are, selfishness is a struggle for everyone on earth. Just because the divorce rates are higher than ever, your parents split when you were twelve, or someone you watched on the internet let you down – which everyone will because no one is perfect, doesn’t mean that you need to lose hope in your own relationships and/or marriage. In order to counteract the potential negativity, I want to present why marriage is right and why you should choose it again and again even after you’ve already walked down the aisle and said your vows.

                                                                        

Society has corrupted our view on marriage. How can we expect to have one that will last when our ideas and expectations are already broken? Marriage is not just a more official relationship with convenient living arrangements, shared mortgages, joint bank accounts, and acceptable physical intimacy where you can leave at any time you feel you are no longer “in love” or “happy”. Ultimately, marriage is not about you.

Here’s what marriage is though …

Marriage is a Covenant 

In marriage, you make a promise for better or worst not only to your spouse, but also to God. That’s not something taken lightly. Marriage is for life. Any and every marriage can be saved and revived with recommitment, dedication, and selfless love. Staying is hard and we tend to be creatures who look for the easiest way out. No one likes sticking it out through hard times, but that’s what you’ve committed to and promised to do. You give up your happiness and what you want for the happiness of the other person. When both husband and wife put the other before his/herself, the bloom of marriage will soon find itself nurtured and growing to be even more beautiful than it was before. As I said before, happiness is overrated.

“Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
 - Matthew 19:6 -
“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband.”
- Ephesian 5:33 -

Marriage is a Reflection 

Marriage is a picture of Jesus returning for His people, the church. Jesus is the groom and the church is the bride. When He returns for us, a new life with Him awaits in heaven where we can be together at last. Earthly marriage is in remembrance of the promise Jesus made to us that He would return for us one day. It is born of a selfless love for another person just like God’s selfless love sent His only Son to die for our sins and Christ’s selfless love to die for us.

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”
- Revelation 19:7-9 -
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”
 - Ephesians 5: 25-27 -

Marriage is a Tool 

Everything we do has a purpose and it’s purpose should ultimately be one that glorifies God. This includes marriage. Marriage is a gift from God and serves as a reminder of His promise. It should be our desire to turn around and use that gift to thank Him and praise Him for it. Marriage joins two people together in a power duo that can do so much more together for God than they could on their own.

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable”
 -Psalm 145:3 -
“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory”
- Isaiah 43:6–7 -

Being in a relationship is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It’s the process of getting to know someone and meshing your lives together to forge one path you can both walk down together as one. It can be a painful and frustrating process at times, but it’s also the most rewarding and beautiful opportunity I’ve been blessed with. When you honor your marriage covenant, understand that it’s a reflection of Christ and the church, and allow God to use it as tool to touch people’s lives with the love of God bringing glory to His kingdom, then you will in turn be blessed with a marriage so rich with love and beauty because it is rooted strong in the ultimate, selfless love of God.

by Amanda

Happiness Is Overrated

April 2, 2014 in From the Heart by Amanda

first print with alternative film process, cyanotyping

first print with alternative film process, cyanotyping

There is much misconception about happiness. It seems like the ultimate life goal to achieve. After all, America was formed based on the pursuit of happiness and if we are all happy then we have no problems. Except the problem is, happiness is a shallow, confused emotion based solely on self. What makes you happy? Sitting here writing and sipping on a cup of tea makes me happy. Morning cuddles with my puppy, Isabel, makes me happy. Spring flowers and blue skies make me happy. All good things, but eventually I will have finished this post, my cup will be empty, Isabel will wake up and want to play, the flowers will whither and the clouds will turn gray. Does this mean that when the things that make me happy come to an end my happiness in turn does as well? There’s a time and a place to be happy, but it is one that is fleeting and momentary because it is based solely on changing factors. I don’t want to live a life of happiness and I certainly don’t want to make that my ultimate life goal. Because of it’s momentary affect, choosing what makes you happy isn’t always the right or best decision especially since the emotion you receive from happiness shouldn’t be one that comes and goes. Instead, much like love, it should be a choice. Despite circumstances, in the end, how you feel is your choice and no outside factors should be given the power to alter that. The real life goal we should be seeking is joy. Joy is the byproduct of the exact opposite of what happiness is a product of: selflessness. When we refocus our lives on making others happy and putting them before ourself, we receive a deeper sense of fulfillment because we receive joy. In the end when everything that makes us happy is gone, there is one thing that will always remain that brings us joy: our salvation from the Lord and knowing that the battle is already won. He is the true, unwavering, and unfaltering source of joy. He is the reason we can choose to put a smile on our face and keep it there regardless of what is going on in our lives and how the seasons are changing.

“But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.”- Psalm 5:11 

by Amanda

A New Year, A New You

January 6, 2014 in The Dreamer by Amanda

Happy 2014!

Here is to new dreams, new growth, new friends, new opportunities, and a new year with a new you. I’m not a big fan of new years resolutions because there’s too much pressure on the stereotypical concept of them that they’re almost made to be broken. Self-improvement should be a constant and consistent effort we make. I could offer a list of some great resolutions for you, but we all know our downfalls and where improvement is needed in our life: whether it’s a healthier lifestyle or trying to strengthen your relationship with God. Instead, I’d like to offer a universal bucket list for this year – and for every year – of several things you can do to improve yourself that aren’t habits you have to develop, but instead just small one time steps that you can choose to repeat.

Cross something off your bucket list

Go to some place you’ve never been to before

Try a new food

Make a new friend

Learn something new

Treat or pamper yourself in some way

Give to a charity or foundation of your choice (time can be just as good as money)

Read a book based solely on the title or cover art

Embrace a fear

Share your thoughts, opinions, and feelings in someway other than Twitter or Facebook

Reminiscing on 2013…

In looking at the future, I believe it’s important to reflect on and remember the past for its memories and lessons. 2013 was a year I never imagined I’d experience. This is mostly because the plan for my life after graduating high school was a hazy vision full of dreams and ambitions that didn’t make up a real game plan. It was one of those years that has been just utterly surreal in every way. Mostly it was a year of personal and spiritual growth and because of drawing closer to God, He’s revealed life changing truths and blessed me in some incredible ways because of them.

This year has taught me that despite hardships, when we put out our trust in Jesus Christ and pour ourselves into Him, He will give us hope, peace, and joy beyond all measure.

I crossed off two of my goals on my bucket list this year.

1. Get my nose pierced

2. Go to a drive in movie

On top of that, I got to meet all of the members of the band We the Kings including the bassist Charles Trippy and his wife Alli, a married couple who vlog their life on YouTube. I started watching their videos in April and met them in August.

From top to bottom: Me with Travis, Alli, Charles, Danny, Hunter, and Coley

I’ve grown apart from friends, strengthened friendships, gained new friends, and lost some altogether…

My beloved Lacy who passed away in July.

My beloved Lacy who passed away in July.

I’ve also been blessed to have been able to have the opportunity to experience other title roles.

I became a mom…

My little baby, Isabel, born on June 6, 2013.

My little baby, Isabel, born on June 6, 2013.

She's 7 weeks old and it was the last visit before I got to take her home.

She’s 7 weeks old and it was the last visit before I got to take her home.

First day officially home!

First day officially home!

First photo shoot! See more pictures from shoot here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dreamersshutter/sets/72157635422563485/

First photo shoot! Click to see more pictures from shoot :)

First Christmas <3

First Christmas <3

… and also a girlfriend …

… to this amazing man, Jonathan. He lives up to his name and is truly a gift from God and such a blessing to me.

 Maybe someday I will tell you our story. ;)

My time ended at Olan Mills because they were bought out by a new company who ended up closing a large percentage of their studios down, including mine, leaving hundreds of employees without jobs.

I focused on school and worked on numerous projects ….

Click to see more from Six Impossible Things

Click to see more from the Six Impossible Things series

Click to see more from Portraits of Wonderland series

Click to see more from the Portraits of Wonderland series

Click to see more from the Once Upon a Headline series.

Click to see more from the Once Upon a Headline series.

Click to see more from Season Being series.

Click to see more from Season Being series.

Click to see more from Monsters series.

Click to see more from Monsters series.

It’s been a year full of great photo ops that I’ve documented and posted on my Flickr. God has blessed Michigan with such beauty from gorgeous scenery at Cranbrook to details in the ice from 2013′s winter storm.

Click to see more from Cranbrook

Click to see more from the 2013 ice storm.

Click to see more from the 2013 ice storm.

I also had the rewarding experience of putting together a little documentary video for a local piercer who had done my nose piercing.

…and then finally I started working at Michaels, one of my favorite stores. I practically spend my pay check there. I love the people and find such joy working there. I’ve been top in bringing in emails and have already received employee of the month. I’m so happy I can honor God and bring Him glory in all that I do.

So here’s to 2014,  another great year full of change and growth toward a better direction! May you lead a life pleasing to God and may you find strength and encouragement in being consistent in your self-improvement. Hope you had a blessed Christmas and New Years!

by Amanda

Love,Yours Truly

July 18, 2013 in From the Heart by Amanda

So you’re single. And you’re waiting for that special someone. You pray for him every morning when you wake up and find yourself thinking about him throughout the day – wishing he could be there to share that moment with you and be a part of that memory. You keep holding onto hope that one day will be some day soon. You wonder what he’s up to and where he is at this exact moment. I wonder, hope, and pray too. I also write him letters. Letters that tell him what’s going in my life that he hasn’t had the chance to be a part of. I talk to him as if we’ve already met and are madly in love because we some day will be. I’m writing to a real person that I just don’t have an address for. I can’t wait to present to him the box of letters I’ve written on our wedding night. It’s a sweet gift to start preparing for him and a lovely sentiment, but how do you know what to write when you haven’t met him? Don’t things eventually get old to talk about? Wouldn’t you run out of ideas? Well, if that’s what you happen to be thinking then I’m happy to share with you a few ideas that might get the ball rolling.

❤ Talk about what’s going on in your life. Include special events and fun things you’re looking forward. Maybe even include pictures!

❤ Share your hopes and dreams. Tell him about all of the things you want to do with him – vacations you want to go on, hobbies you want to learn. Talk about your future children if you want them!

❤ Tell him what you love about him. It’s never too early! You know the kind of man you want to marry so if you’re trusting God to bring you the right man then you already know he is going to have a heart that loves the Lord. Maybe you won’t stand for dishonesty. Tell him how much you love how he tells you the truth even when it’s incredibly difficult.

❤ You don’t even have to write a letter to him. Write a letter to God with prayers for him and share it with him. Include all of the different ways you can pray for your future spouse.

❤ Finally, if you see a verse, quote, or lyrics from a song that remind you of your hopes and dreams for loving him then write it down. Not only will he smile, but so will you by having something to look back on and see those sweet little details that you may have otherwise forgotten.

Don’t let writing to your future spouse be a burden. It really shouldn’t be especially if you wish you could spend time with him this very moment. Write to him when you wish he was around, when you wish he could have been there or given you advice. Write him when you want to. You shouldn’t feel pressured, but just keep in mind that the more you write the more he will get to read. I hope you find as much enjoyment and value in this project as I have.

by Amanda

All Dogs Go To Heaven

July 12, 2013 in From the Heart, The Dreamer by Amanda

EXTRA! EXTRA!

My life has been a blur lately. I can barely keep track of everything that’s going on hence the reason for a lack of posts and attention to my blog these last few weeks which I hope you can forgive me for! I wanted to bring you an update of what’s been going on.

First for the exciting news! I finally launched an online store that has all of my inventory for Dreamer’s Shutter Photography listed. You can finally see everything I have and purchase it online. (It’s also at really great discounted prices!) If you don’t see the picture you want then you are more than welcome to submit an inquiry about the photograph and size you’re interested in and I will send you a price. You can visit my clearance shop here.

Secondly, I hope you had a lovely fourth of July even if you’re not from America! I spent the day with one of my best friend’s and her family. We went to a parade in the morning and had a delicious lunch with some marshmallow roasting and fireworks at the end. Following that, some family came into town that weekend and I spent the days with them lighting off fireworks of our own, feeding exotic birds at the zoo, seeing Monsters University and celebrating my little cousin’s seventh birthday.

In the midst of all the joy and celebrating, my dog of fourteen years passed away. Being so busy helped get my mind off of her death, but it didn’t allow me much of any time to grieve. It’s really hard not having her around. She was my best friend and we grew up together. I feel like I have a phantom limb because I can still feel her even though she’s not there.

When I was ten, we had to put my cat down because he had cancer. I didn’t have much of a connection with him and I took his passing pretty hard because it had been my first experience with death. I still don’t have much experience with death, thankfully, but being older now has allowed me to look at death from a mature standpoint. I wanted to share it with you in hopes that if you’re going through the same thing I am it may help. This perspective doesn’t make the loss hurt less. It simply allows you to be more understanding and accepting of it.

The entire time my dog was sick I was hoping she’d get better and wishing that it was just like all of those other times that she conquered an illness and came out strong. I knew she was getting older and eventually going to pass anyway, but to see her go like this where she looked so sick and helpless was heart breaking. I didn’t think it would actually defeat her, but I prayed for God’s will to be done. God knew the situation better than I from how she was feeling to what we were. We were on this emotional roller coaster where we had to battle acceptance and facing the facts. Having to deal with her getting better and then sick again would have taken too much of an emotional toll. I’m so blessed to have had as much time with her as I did. She was such a good little girl and took the place of the sister I never got to know. I have every faith that my dog, Lacy, and my sister, Ashley, are taking care of each other in heaven. I’ve accepted the fact she left us in God’s timing. I miss her dearly and am so thankful for the memories shared and captured that I can look back and reminisce on. Thank you to everyone that loved her. I’d be honored if you’d share in her memories with me.

by Amanda

All You Need Is Love

June 20, 2013 in From the Heart by Amanda

This last week I have felt convicted on multiple occasions to write a post explaining my standpoint on gay/equal rights.

Now, I really don’t want to be writing this because I know why I believe what I believe and I also understand why people believe what they believe and having pointless arguments over who’s right and who’s wrong over vast social media websites isn’t going to change anyone’s opinion and to be honest that’s not what I’m trying to do here. The truth is I hate conflict, but nonetheless I’m going to take a stab at trying to explain the complications behind why I think the way I do on this topic.

I was born and raised in a generation that embraces and accepts people for being different and embodying who they truly are more than any other generation has. It’s one of the things I love the most about about my generation, but being a part of this generation as well as having been raised in a Christian home, has put me in the middle of some conflicting morality issues. Growing up, I thought it would be the coolest thing to have a gay best friend like the lead characters in rom coms had who could help you pick out clothes and give you guy advice from a guy’s perspective, but the struggle came in when I knew deep down that my rhetorical gay best friend’s lifestyle wouldn’t be one that was pleasing to God.

Love is at the heart of this issue and time after time I keep hearing it doesn’t matter who you love, if the person makes you happy then that’s all that matters. To a certain degree that’s true, it doesn’t matter who you love because we are supposed to love and care for everyone just as Christ first loved us. That’s why it doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, where you live, what you believe, or what you’ve done. Christ loves you and so do I. I’m not going to stop being your friend, talking, or caring for you based on your past or your present. I will defend you against your enemies, however I will never condone or support your sinful actions. Love isn’t the issue. If you ask me, we need more of it. It’s the other ‘L’ word where things become a problem. When you begin to lust after someone that’s where sin begins to form.

We have our own free will and because of this we have a choice. You are entitled to make your own decisions about what you do and how you live your life, but along with that freedom you are held accountable for the consequences if you make a wrong choice. If you haven’t made the ultimate decision of accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior and committing to a relationship with Him then in your mind there’s no one for you to answer to and I understand why you support gay rights. However, just because you don’t accept that truth doesn’t make it right and doesn’t mean it’s not sin. For myself and other Christians, our first obligation is to the Lord and we can’t justify what is considered sin in His eyes.

Yes, God is a God of love, but He is also a God of justice. That’s why He sent His only Son to die for us simply to save our immortal souls so we can spend eternity with Him. That’s also why I believe what I do. I love my God and in loving Him I respect and honor what He deems as righteous. I love you with all of your faults because Christ loves me with mine and I know that all sin leads to destruction and I don’t want that road for anyone.

God never intended for women to be with women and men to be with men in a homosexual way. If He had, in creation, He would have provided a way for both men and women to give birth naturally and He also would not have limited himself to only creating Adam and Eve. We need two different individuals like a man and a women in order to procreate. Marriage is a supposed to be a picture of Christ as the groom coming for His bride, the church. There’s always a reason why the Bible is against something or puts a negative connotation towards it which is why I have included a few of the following verses on this subject.

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” – Lev 18:22

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed and abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” – Leviticus 20:13

“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people- none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 

It’s a fact that our world is changing and more and more are viewing homosexuality as acceptable. I understand the reasoning behind why people support it because if I weren’t a Christian I probably would too, but no matter how many attempts there are to justify equal rights, it’s still a sin. Let’s be honest, in the end the law isn’t going to stop you from living the way you choose to. The only thing that’s going to convict you to change your lifestyle is embracing Christ’s love for you and deciding that living for the Lord is more important than living for yourself. How we return Christ’s love for us is spending time with Him reading and praying, honoring His word, and showing others what Christ has done for us through our testimony and actions. I come from two worlds and it’s not about what I believe, but why I believe it especially when everywhere you turn someone is telling you you’re wrong and they’re right. I just wanted to take the time to explain the why because I feel like that isn’t individually thought through enough. I’m not trying to change your opinion or beliefs. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. Only God has the power to work in your heart. Please message me if I can help in answering any questions you may have or simply if you need someone to talk to. I don’t care about your past or your present, but I pray for a better future.

by Amanda

The Art of Refraction in Photography

June 16, 2013 in Behind the Lens by Amanda

They're Watching

Okay, so I’m sure you’ve seen these kinds of pictures before. When you first saw them you stared and stared thinking to yourself, how did the photographer do that? It had to be Photoshop! Although, you can do pretty much anything in Photoshop these days, this stunning little trick you don’t need Photoshop for. Sometimes you can be lucky enough to find it in nature, but other times you have to do a little prep work behind the scenes. Let me introduce you to the art of refraction.

What is refraction?

Well, according to science it has this big fancy shmancy technical definition, but for the sake of photography let’s just say it’s the inversion of something. (See, my Applied Science degree for photographic technology is going to come in handy because I’m teaching you guys how to apply science to your photography!) This means that when you have a cute little water droplet just chilling it can act as a prism that flips an upside down image right side up.

How do you create this effect?

Not everyone is lucky enough to have nature bless them with this Kodak moment, but there is a way to do it on your own. Flowers are a popular choice for refracting in water droplets, but there are a ton of creative possibilities out there to have fun experimenting with. You can go outside and compose your image with plants and flowers around and simply use a dropper to place water droplets around until you can see the image you want being refracted in the droplet or you can become Dr. Frankenstein like I did and set up your own little lab indoors if you don’t have enough foliage accessible to you.

I used a photograph of a daisy I had previously taken and flipped it upside down in the background. You can use any kind of picture you want for this. I would suggest something with a main, prominent focal point though. Then I simply draped the vine of a house plant in front of the photograph and began placing water droplets along the vine with the dropper. The most difficult part of this process is getting the water droplets to stay in place, but with a little persistence and patience you’ll get it to work. It’s really cool to see the image become right side up in the droplet. When you line everything up, you can start composing and snapping away!

Hope you enjoy and have fun with this little trick! I can’t wait to see what pictures you end up taking. Don’t forget to connect with me on Flickr!

by Amanda

Networking with Photographers

June 6, 2013 in Behind the Lens by Amanda

The only time you can see through another person’s eyes and have the opportunity to see exactly what they saw, when, and how they saw it is with photography. Even with Photoshop, photography is believable and shows you the inner workings of an artist/photographer’s mind. It’s something to savor and embrace openly. Your homework previously was to read your camera manual and take LOTS and LOTS of pictures. Practice makes perfect, right? Well, your next homework assignment is to get a free account on Flickr.

Why, you ask? This allows you to…

Share Your Photography

It’s really important for you to get your work out there and share it with people (including me). I want to see what you’ve been up to! You get to upload a terabyte of photos for free which will suit you for a very, very long time. You can trust them with your cherished images by choosing whether you want a Creative Commons License for your work or All Rights Reserved. You can check out their FAQ if you have particular questions and concerns.

Connect With Other Photographers

Viewing other people’s photography is the first way to improve your own! You see what you like and what you don’t like and then you learn how to adapt that style into your own work. There’s a good chance you’ll notice some particular techniques that I’ll be touching on in future posts. The other thing is your photography will be open to critique to help encourage you and improve your creative process. You might even make some new friends!

Besides just looking on Flickr, check out some famous photographers and see what kind of photography they became famous for. Leave me a comment letting me know who your favorite photographer is and a link to your new Flickr account so I can check it out. You can connect with me on mine here.

I know there are some photographers who hate Instagram, but I think that’s another great social media site for people because it gets them in the habit of taking pictures on a regular every day basis. I’d definitely recommend that App if you don’t already have it and I hope it gets you to think about pictures before you take them. Something to think about when uploading pictures to Flickr or even Instagram for that matter, consider what images you’re going to display and make those images your absolute best.

I can’t wait to see all everyone has been up to and taking pictures of!



by Amanda

Candy Salad with Honey Vinaigrette

June 4, 2013 in DIYs by Amanda

In honor of ‘Running the Race’ and becoming healthier both physically and spiritually, I thought I’d share with you my very own recipe for a salad I made my mom for mother’s day. Definitely one of my favorite concoctions! And I know what you’re thinking, it can’t possibly be healthy with candy in the title! Well, it’s a delicious salad if you have a sweet tooth, but don’t want to go over board – and technically there’s no candy in it. I figured it was only appropriate though because my mom’s name is Candy and this salad is just deliciously sweet! You gotta start somewhere, right?

Everyone knows how to make a salad so there’s no real brain power there – you just toss it, however walnuts, which are one of the ingredients for this salad, actually contributes to brain power! Bonus!

Okay, so you’re going to need…

♥ Parmesan Cheese

♥ Apple Slices – depending on how fancy you want to get you can de-core it using a spiral cutter

♥ Candied Walnuts (Find out how to make candied walnuts here)

♥ Spring Mix lettuce

… and for the real topper

♥ home made honey vinaigrette dressing – yummy!

How do you make honey vinaigrette dressing? I’m thrilled you asked!

It’s super simple. All you have to do is blend these ingredients and pour:

♥ 3/4 cup olive oil (good quality)

♥ 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

♥ 2 tablespoons water

♥ 2 tablespoons honey

♥ 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

♥ 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Happy eating!

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