Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Life and the monetary support of such got in the way of me doing what I really wanted to do today, and that was to write about the ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC weekend that Bill and I just had. We had a Jeep Wrangler for the whole weekend and we USED THE HELL OUTTA IT. So. Consider this a taste of the gloriousness to come:

Roosevelt Lake from the apex of Four Peaks Road.

Roosevelt Lake from the apex of Four Peaks Road.


Hello, friends! Happy New Year!

A non-zero number of you have asked about my writing schedule for 2011. I think this was spurred by the fact that you (they) saw less of me over at UpTake and Beyond Megapixels in November and December. The special project I was working on at UpTake occupied my writing quota – if you follow me on Facebook you may have seen the “playlists” I was publishing for a while (like this one). Now that the project is wrapped up, I’ll be going back to my regular posting schedule of two vacation blog posts per week. As for Beyond Megapixels, I’ve decreased my writing quota over there a bit (7 per month at the moment, plus the contributions of a very excellent guest writer), but we’re hoping that will pick back up in the new year (oh, and I know I pimped it on Twitter and Facebook, but if you haven’t read my latest article, you should! I’m proud of it, and it’s been getting really positive feedback! Which was the point.). Finally, I’m still writing for Demand Studios, to the tune of about three or four articles a week.

It strikes me, as I peruse the job boards for more freelance work, that I’m much more optimistic about being able to one day support our family on my writing income. It also strikes me that, as much as I love photography, it is to my writing that I continue to turn to pursue my ambitions. I guess one’s first love is always one’s strongest love. Plus, of course, it’s easier to freelance in writing when one has a full-time job – I can write at night and on weekends and only have to contend with my own schedule. It’s harder to line up photography gigs around a full-time job.

Not that I plan on backing off on my photography goals. Quite the opposite is true – I am now a card carrying member of NAPP and I bought a subscription to Kelby Training just last week (both tax write-offs!). I’ve only watched a few training videos so far, but the very first one, a photo walk of New York City with Jay Maisel, was worth EVERY PENNY of that subscription. If you’re serious about learning photography, and you’re looking for a great alternative to formal education, consider signing up for Kelby Training! It’s a truly excellent resource. And I’m totally plugging them for free – I seriously doubt that anyone at Kelby Media Group even knows that I exist.

Bill continues to encourage me on the photography front – he got some overtime over the holidays and wants me to spend it on gear. That was a supremely generous gesture, wasn’t it? So I’m looking at a 580 EXII Speedlite. Further along on the gear-purchasing front, I still have plans to turn Amanda’s bedroom into a small studio eventually, and now that I have Kelby’s “10 Essential Studio Techniques Every Photographer Needs to Know” training under my belt, I know exactly what I need. A wide roll of white paper on a rod and stand to serve as a simple yet effective background, this Elinchrom strobe kit, this Elinchrom softbox, and this Westcott strip bank. For $1600 and an understanding of how lighting works, I can do professional work that rivals, well, the professionals! So, that’s my next big purchase to be worked for over the coming months.

Then I’m going to get this 70-300 telephoto (there’s a much more expensive L-series of the same focal range and speed, but I’m not convinced the extra GRAND is worth it, and reviewers agree with me). This macro lens and this wide angle lens will wrap up all the lens purchases I wish to make. I hold no expectation that I’ll be able to purchase all of these within the next year, or even within the next two years. A wish list is named thus for a reason.

When I worked with my friend Karen’s daughter and her friends back in October, I found that I really enjoyed the experience. I think my niche just might be that sort of assignment. I like going to client’s homes or working on location (as my work with Sandstone attests to). My friends have asked my why I don’t want to be a wedding photographer – to which I respond that I don’t want that kind responsibility. I don’t want the responsibility of capturing the details of the most important day of a person’s life. I work much better in a less formal atmosphere. Hence wanting to develop my own studio, and enjoying location work that doesn’t involve gowns and cake and nerves. I would much rather attend a wedding and gift the bride and groom with the shots that I took as a guest.

I also like shooting a variety of subjects – people, sure, but also products and architecture and landscapes and food and sports. I guess I liken it to being a General Practitioner, rather than specializing in a particular service. One of my goals for this year is to further formalize my portfolio, which demonstrates examples of all of these types of photography. I have a portfolio on my media site, but it needs to be updated and re-vamped. Plus, it provides access to ALL of my photos on Flickr, and, well, many of them are NOT portfolio-worthy.

Finally, there will be a total overhaul of Snerkology, its domain, and its off-shoots. Snerkology (including the original site), World Famous Nosh, Snerkology Media, and Photos by Tiffany will all finally be under one roof, and hosted on Dreamhost. I am very excited about this in particular, as the site redesign has been a long time coming. Details are just about finalized (yes, I’m hiring someone, and she comes highly recommended), so rest assured you guys will be receiving regular updates. For now, I’ve just finished my own page which helps to summarize my Internet domination. I think it needs a better picture on it still, but for now that one will do.

I think that’s quite enough ambition for one year, don’t you? AcronymCo continues to find me employable for some unfathomable reason, we have a trip to Maine and a trip to Indy planned this year, I have grand plans for debt payoff and eventual solvency (mostly), tax season is upon us so I have to get all of THAT crap together in the next few weeks, I have a workout schedule that I think finally jives with my level of ambition (snort) and my schedule… and I don’t understand what it is within myself that disallows even one SECOND of laziness.

I’ve been reading everyone else’s blogs on the subject of the coming year, so I know I’m not alone.

BRING IT, 2011!

Here’s the one from 2009, and here’s the one from 2008. And I just realized that for BOTH years I spelled it “pictoral” instead of “pictorial”. WHATEVER. I’m whimsical, okay?

This, by far, is NOT a full and all-inclusive list of everything that went down in this busy, BUSY year. It’s just a few selections that had photographs to accompany the memories.


There was a leak and we realized we needed a new roof:

I had several photography gigs:


I FINALLY made Boeuf Bourguignon:


Bill and I went to Oro Valley, hiked in Catalina State Park, and SAW A BOBCAT!

An awesome day, that included a visit to the zoo, made me cry:


We went to Flagstaff, stayed in a haunted hotel, and saw the live raptor program at the Arboretum:

Aaaaand Billy bought some… stuff… for the zombie apocolypse:


We observed body painting in progress:

Zoe flirted with me:


I started my second sabbatical:

Bill and I went to Payson:


We went to Maine and it was the best vacation back home yet:

We also fell in love with this stuff:


I went back to work:

Bill and I attended MotoGP in Indianapolis with TB and Dys:


I got a new camera:


Another month, another gig:

We lost Grandpa Ed:


I wrote some entries about some of the things I love:

There was Thanksgiving and a puppy:


I met some new boozes:

And some new treats:

And now we’re heading onwards and upwards into 2011. My hopes for the coming year are to pay off as much debt as I can, get a Jeep (yes, I’m aware that’s counter-intuitive to the first point), get my ass to Maine, get my ass to Indy, and get my ass fit.

What are your hopes and plans for the coming year?

I let myself fall

Posted: December 3, 2010 in Bill, photography, Warm Fuzzy

I’m Bill-sick.

No, I’m not sick of Bill. And no, Bill is not sick.

I’m homesick… for Bill.

That probably makes no sense to you guys, whatsoever. I see him every morning and evening, and talk to him several times throughout the day. I just spent a long weekend with him, and we’re headed into another weekend a few short hours from now.

There was just… something about heading out the door today, yelling goodbye to him, starting up the car, backing out of the driveway… I paused in front of the house and looked at it for a minute. And was struck with an almost overwhelming urge to pull back into the driveway, run back in real quick, and grab one last kiss.

I didn’t. I wish I had. One should follow through with these kinds of impulses, when one experiences them.

We’ve been together for over twelve years, and he’s been a daily constant in my life for seventeen. We’ve had high, high ups; and pretty darned low down’s. Mostly, we’ve been cruising at a steady altitude. Which is wonderful, but it is also where complacence lies.

I don’t want to be complacent. I want us to thrill along to this love that we have, every moment of every day.

At the same time, I’m so grateful for the ability to be complacent, when it happens. To take things, just a little bit, for granted. There’s so much peace to be had, simply with the knowledge that I can just… let myself fall.

Neither one of us is perfect, but our imperfections, for the most part, compliment one another. Neither one of us tries all the time, but we each try when it counts, and that’s what matters. We’re not always as nice, as kind, to one another as we could and should be – but we’re better at loving each other than at anything else we know how to do in this life.

I’m lucky, and I know I’m lucky.

Heather took this picture of us.

Heather took this picture of us. And the thumbnail I opened this post with, come to think of it!

In Hawaii!

In Hawaii!

First trip home in '98.

First trip home in '98.

At Rula Bula.  Courtesy of Heather again!

At Rula Bula. Courtesy of Heather again!

Here's the full size of that thumbnail.

Here's the full size of that thumbnail.

Oh dear.

Oh dear.

In Maine in '07.

In Maine in '07.

House of Tricks in '07.

House of Tricks in '07.

Oh dear, again.

Oh dear, again.



A Girl and a Puppy

Posted: November 26, 2010 in pets, photography

This is Amanda with Rooney, Bill’s sister’s family’s Beagle puppy. I forgot how SOFT they are! Puppies, not the in-laws.

Click to embiggen.

I was going to post more pictures but my computer is pissing me off, so I’m going to go clean instead. Happy Friday!

You all know about how I write for Beyond Megapixels. Sometimes, rather than the usual tutorial or advice or product review, I encourage my readers to get thoughtful. Today, I asked them to consider, think, ponder, and navel-gaze about what their “best shot” (or shots) says about themselves.

Go ahead, go read it. I’ll hang out.

So, now I’m asking you guys. It doesn’t have to be about photography – it can be about any creative outlet that you currently enjoy. What does the result of your creativity say about the kind of person you are?

Food for thought on this happy Wednesday.

I was recently messing around with natural light, and took photos of the roses from Grandpa’s casket (the preacher gave one to each woman, and gave carnations to the men). These were taken with a Lensbaby Composer, then post-processed in Photoshop CS5.

Monday Meta

Posted: October 4, 2010 in Arizona, Friends, photography, vacation, work

– I haven’t been writing here as much as I’d like. The reason? I’ve been busy. Verra, verra busy.

– We are officially OVER the 100+ degree temps in Arizona and are headed, finally, into autumn. Today’s high is 93 with a good chance of thunderstorms – one of which is brewing outside of my window as I type this. Tomorrow’s high is 88 with more storms. The highest it’s going to get over the next ten days is 92, which I am more than capable of dealing with. Thank you, October.

– I had a photography gig at the home of one of my co-workers on Saturday. She hired me to photograph her daughter and her daughter’s two best friends, for a full-page spread in their yearbook. I was a little nervous at first, but once we got going we had a great time. Two hours and four outfit changes later, I left with over two hundred photos to post-process. I was very pleased with a lot of them. I’ll share them with you on my Flickr account after my client has seen them, but for a Double Secret Probation Unauthorized Preview, go here.

– If you had to decide between a vacation to Washington DC to explore the Smithsonian, a long weekend in Monterey, or a road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which one would you choose and why?

– Work this week is going to suck ass. Because I was off for a day and a half last week, and because I’ll be in training Tuesday through Thursday of this week, today’s workload was challenging to say the least. The aforementioned training is to acquire my Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. We Must! We Must! We Must Increase Our Bust! Reduce Waste and Variation! I’ll be at the “other” AcronymCo campus, which of course throws off my routine. I HATE being thrown off my routine. We’ll also be required to shut down our laptops and pay attention (dammit), so blog reading and tweeting and e-mailing will be relegated to an hour-long frenzy at lunchtime.

Kim and her family suffered a horrible loss over the weekend. Dear Kim, when you get a chance to read this, please know that Bill and I extend our heartfelt sorrow and are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers.


Posted: September 24, 2010 in Family, Health/Fitness, kids, misc, Music, photography, Pimp

– Miss Amanda Marie turned twenty-two on the 18th. We went to Kona Grill for dinner (sushi FTW!). A good time was had by all, in part because Kami joined us. DAMN, though, we need to break Amanda of that Coors Light business. She brings shame upon us.

– Our grandson Robert Anthony turned seven on the 23rd. We all hope he had a happy birthday.

– I have a new photo blog, here. I’m only somewhat blatantly copying Dys. Eventually there will be fresh content – the few pics I’ve put up were simply to fill the space for the time being. Still, they don’t suck. You’ve just probably seen ’em before.

Heather is awesome and we should all support her.

– I’m having the follow-up test for the Essure procedure next Thursday. Verily I say unto you, deets will be sharedeth.

– Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

– It pissed me off that Facebook’s downtime was the number one CNN headline for two days in a row. Where do you guys get your news from? Cuz I’ve gotta say, that factoid right there speaks worse for CNN than it does for our culture in general.

– This is stuck in my head and it’s all Kim’s fault:

– The fact that it’s Friday has been the only thing barring me from committing several homicides, one assault with a deadly weapon, and some major self mutilation. Have a great weekend, everyone!

First Lensbaby Pictures

Posted: September 9, 2010 in photography