2009/02/28

Contest Time

DaGoddess @ 12:00

For the first person to answer this question correctly, I will provide them with a wallpaper of this darling Lily of the Valley.

Question:

During playtime with an unusual animal, I was left with a very faint scar when I was seven years old. What kind of animal was it?

Lily of the Valley 1

You may answer this question in the comments section. Please make sure you provide a valid email address so I can contact you.

The Goddess Named Zenaida

DaGoddess @ 03:31

George, over at Project 365: Draw The Line, is such a talented man. And a very sweet, generous man, too!

I happened to email him before I left for Phoenix. I had a question about his work (I thought he’d collaborated with photographer, but I was wrong). We began emailing back and forth a bit. Along the way I had mentioned how much I loved his zaftig goddess, Zenaida. She’s delightfully upbeat and is prone to capering about in the buff. I like that. It’s a sort of self-assuredness that we should all have, and a joy, a zest for life that she possesses that makes her such a precious creature. There’s also her curlicue knees. I can’t, for the life of me, get past those. They are adorable.

Anyhow, long story slightly shorter, George drew a special Lady Z just for me.

Thank you, George!

And now, my friends, do yourselves a favor: bookmark his website. He will astound you with his talent and delight you with the creatures he dreams up. There are bunnies and ducks and there were even drunken rats, I believe. All fabulous! Plus, he’s inspiring. Just when you think you have nothing left inside of you, George will draw or write something that will make you dig deeper within yourself and try just a little harder to make something good of your day.

P.S. I should add that it was also George who pointed out Robbie the Rhino on his other blog (yes, I still want Robbie as well as one of their hearts and a skull — hey, I don’t want everything, I want just enough).

Perspective

DaGoddess @ 00:32

To give you a better idea of just how small these flowers are, that blue stuff? It’s the weave pattern in the fabric on a recliner. (Those three flowers together are smaller than the tip of my pinkie.)

Itty Bitty Teeny Tiny

2009/02/27

You’d Be So Proud!

DaGoddess @ 17:36

I’m currently putting all my files onto discs. Everything’s already backed up on an external hard drive, but now I’m putting things on discs and removing them from the computer. Especially really old photo files. I’m not using them. I know where they are if I need them.

This is huge for me. Seriously.

For someone who was down to her last 23GB of free space on the computer, I’m doing good stuff. (Don’t laugh, I can shoot 8GB in a day.)

Apparently I can find all sorts of things to do when I’m avoiding photo editing duties.

Magic Light

DaGoddess @ 08:00

I love available light for photos. Sometimes, when you least expect it, you find yourself in a situation where there’s magic in the light available. Such was the case on Saturday. Here was the first person I encountered in that perfect spot. He goes by the nickname KC. Sixteen years old, plays like he’s known the blues for ages, as if he were born with them. Sweet, talented kid. Exactly the kind of teenager I hope Little Dude becomes.

KC

(more…)

Wish List and Prioritizing

DaGoddess @ 04:00

It’s silly for me to be making my birthday wish list so far in advance. Heck it’s over two months until my birthday. But here’s the thing, I’ve begun to prioritize some of the steps I need to take in order to get to the next level professionally in photography. I figure if I put these items on my wish list, I’m that much closer to making the big leap. I keep my goals close at hand at all times. They’re reminders of how close I’m getting to where I want to be and they serve as my blueprint for making this happen.

Here’s a quick look at some of the things I’m looking at:

  • I just discovered a great class that’s coming up in two weeks. It’s being taught by a world class photojournalist. You better believe that goes on the list! I may need to ask Dad for an early birthday present. Or I just may wait until next year. Decisions, decisions.
  • There’s also a weeklong workshop this summer, but it’s expensive and out of my range. It will remain on my list until next year, when I hope to be able to fully fund it myself.
  • I have to redo my photography website. It’s not at all effective in its current state and it doesn’t reflect what I’ve been doing lately, what I’m capable of doing, nor does it give me the ability to sell my art prints. It also doesn’t function well as a promotional tool. Technically, this is at the top of the list, but it’s a higher ticket item than the first class I listed, but much less than the second, weeklong workshop. I guess I’d list this item as second on the list.
  • Software. I’m looking at Noise Ninja in particular because I shoot so much in very low light situations. It’s critical that I have the software to back up what I shoot. I’ve just upgraded my Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 to the Ultimate package, which included Painter 4. Nice, but not entirely what I need. My friend and I are considering purchasing Noise Ninja for us both to use because we’re often shooting together as a team. Seems reasonable to go in on it together. We just don’t know if the software that ships is different if we’re running two different operating systems — she’s Mac, I’m PC. Further research is essential.
  • I’m looking at a 100 or 135mm prime lens, too. The ability to shoot in low light is aided by a good prime lens. I just got my 50mm f/2.8 macro, but again, it’s macro and it’s not the best lens for me to use if I’m not right up at the edge of the stage. Precious (the macro lens) is wonderful in all other respects, though. It’s glorious. For macro work and for portraits, it’s beautiful. For getting in a bit closer to the action on stage? I need something with a bit more oomph.
  • Eventually I’m going to have to commit to a good computer, too. I’m working on a borrowed laptop. I won’t have it forever and it’s really not meant to handle graphics or the software the way I need it to. For now, though, I can work with this and will until I’m able to make the big leap.
  • A flash unit is becoming more and more of a necessity. I never thought I’d be in a situation where I’d need it. I’m so anti-flash, I thought I’d be able to get around it indefinitely. That’s not how real life works. It’s not the highest priority item, but it’s there and it’s an eventuality.
  • My own car would be nice. It’s the most expensive item on the list and it’s a long way off. It’s there, though, and I’ll know when it’s possible, I know where to go, who to see, and I’m patient enough. If I’ve learned nothing else in the past four years, patience is where it’s at, baby.
  • Really wishful thinking — full access at Doheny this year. B.B. King is slated to appear, along with several other great acts. I want to shoot and groove, y’know? Drool!

It’s funny how I can list these things, see what needs to be done, and not feel rushed or panicky. I see the path I’m on and see results in everything I’ve done thus far to get to this point. I see progress and promise. Even at those times when I feel the most impatient, I take a step back and remind myself how much I’ve learned in the past year. I see how much more I have to learn and I know what I can work with and what I need to do to make certain aspects work better for me. That’s the real growth.

Sometimes I’m just so damn grown up and sensible. Makes me want to go run into the bathroom and make sure it’s really me who’s thinking this way.

What do you want to accomplish in the next few months? What’s on your list? We may as well share so we don’t feel so alone in our quest. C’mon. Tell me. Maybe we can help each other, keep each other focused. That’s what friends do, right? Right.

2009/02/26

It Never Hurts To Ask

DaGoddess @ 12:08

That’s the biggest lesson I learned long ago and again this past weekend. Yes, sometimes you learn a lesson twice for different reasons.

When I was young, my mom always told me that it was better to ask a question, ask permission, ask for anything if that is what the situation called for. Curious about Aunt Bev’s wooden leg? Ask her about it. Want a cookie? Ask for it. Confused about the meaning of life? Ask Mommy and, even though she may not have the answer, she’ll give you time and attention and discuss the matter with you until it starts to make sense or, at the very least, doesn’t gnaw at you any longer.

This last weekend, I got into the habit of approaching musicians, asking them if they would pose for me. Before or after they were on stage, I’d approach and ask if they’d mind following me to the back of the building, where I’d stand them in front of this awesome cement wall. (Cement wall? Awesome? Yes. You’ll see. Patience, grasshopper.) And those whose photo I took in some other fashion, like Malcolm, I at least asked him a few questions afterward (he didn’t know I was shooting at the time).

There were some artists who just seemed to call for “permission first”. Or, as was the case a few times, the situation required it. They weren’t in the right light or the right place, they were fidgety or pacing. For them, I definitely asked first. To not ask would have been akin to stealing that moment from them. I know that doesn’t make much sense to you, but it makes sense to me. And it paid off. Not a single person said no. Later, I did talk with everyone I photographed, even if it was just to say hello, thank them for their performance, and let them know photos would be forthcoming.

Working with two other photographers, I felt like we’d covered the gamut. I know whatever I didn’t get, they got. Or they saw it in a different way. If they didn’t get to talk with the performers, I was able to do so on behalf of all of us.

The first night, at the club, I spent a lot of time securing signatures for our model release forms. It served dual purpose: 1) We’d have the rights to the images for promotional purposes and would also be able to share the images with the owner of the club for a book (I’m working on that angle), and 2) it was an opportunity to meet the performers and get to know them a bit better. The latter was probably my favorite reason. These were often people I’d heard perform on CD or who I’ve seen in videos and there I was, talking with them, getting to know them as people. I love to talk with people, dig a bit deeper, get to know them and get to know a bit more about myself in the process.

One man made me promise to sit down at a piano or keyboard of some sort and start the process of relearning to play, like I did when I was a kid with my grandfather. He said if I did, he’d do something special for me. Regardless of whether or not he does anything for me, it’s obvious that I’ll be doing myself a big favor — I’ll be adding another skill to my list and I’ll be reconnecting with my past. Good all the way around, if you ask me.

Anyway, I’m not sure I have much of a wrap up for this, other than to say I’m glad I’m not afraid to talk to folks and ask them questions, permission, or what have you. There have been times in my life when I was too shy to do this, but I’ve grown a lot over the years and I’ve learned to approach this as 1) a reporter (from interviews in print) and 2) a photographer. Amazingly, I’m rarely turned down and I’m always enriched in the end.

2009/02/25

When Did I Get So Old?

DaGoddess @ 21:55

Really. I want to know. How did this happen?

I got home from Phoenix late Sunday evening and I’m still exhausted. I sound like I spent a week at an amusement park, too, with my scratchy voice and all. Granted, I had a very long day on Friday — got up at 5:30am and didn’t go to bed until early Saturday morning. Saturday, had a surprise blues festival (yeah, I know, how does one not know about that?), and then we went back to the blues club for more shooting. Temple, Patty, and I worked our asses off, that’s for sure. Sunday started off with a trip to a Nissan dealership* so Patty could get an oil change before we headed home.

We ate breakfast while waiting for the car. The Eggery was good, although my bacon was a bit overdone. From there, we said goodbye to Temple and began our journey west. We stopped in Joshua Tree later in the afternoon, menacing clouds building in the sky. I’d checked the forecast and rain had been predicted for San Diego, which did cause us some concern. We didn’t want to have to deal with rain while crossing the mountains. Fortunately, we ended up with no rain and the rest of the trip went quite well. Except…while we were getting our camera gear back in the car at Joshua Tree, the car door slammed into my back. Freaky. It was as if nature was telling me to get the hell out of there. My upper back took the brunt of the door, leaving my neck and shoulders sore.

The last couple of days, I’ve been fighting exhaustion as well as pain and numbness in my arms and hands. Today is the first day that the numbness and pain has been minimal and I’m quite glad it’s abating.

I’ve also spent the last few days fighting trying to get transportation to pool therapy. I had to cancel both sessions this week because there’s still no action from the insurance company. They’re really making this more difficult than it needs to be. Tomorrow will be more of the same, I’m sure. (Wish me luck!)

My voice is slowly but surely coming back. I have tons of photos to edit. And I’m starting to feel almost human again. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity (and I’ve already seen some very positive feedback — yay!) and I’m glad I went, but it’s obvious that it’s a little too much to expect me to keep running at full steam at this point. I gave it all I had, though, and the return, well, that remains to be seen. I do know, however, that once the photos are all done and shared, their worth will be duly noted and my participation will have been worth it.

So there you go. My big fun weekend in Phoenix. I got to spend time with people I really enjoy (y’hear that, Temple?) and sadly, missed out on getting to meet Miachelle, but there will be other trips. I also hope to spend more time with people NOT shooting. And I hope to do this soon.

I’m off to finish the photos. It’s a huge project. There are MANY images. When I have some worthy of sharing, I’ll post. Until then, my Cone of Silence is in place. Kind of. Like you can keep me quiet for long. Ha!

*If you live in the Phoenix area, check out ABC Nissan on Camelback. They’re the only dealership with a service department open on Sundays and they’re offering oil changes for $10, too! ABC Nissan 1300 East Camelback Road Phoenix, AZ 85014

2009/02/21

The Dimples Made Me Do It

DaGoddess @ 20:40

Preview of blues fest pics: Lightnin’ Malcolm

Shot taken with available light from the door leading to the stage. ISO 400. Focal Length 76mm.

Malcolm

Fun, Fun, Fun!

DaGoddess @ 20:33

The blues festival today was so much fun! I took so many photos that I filled an 8GB card (shooting RAW & JPEG). Massive amounts of editing to do from last night and some from today, even more from tonight (we’re just about ready to head back to the Rhythm Room). I don’t mind. It’s intoxicating to be around such talent all day long.

Remind me to tell you about “Gary”. Also, remind me to tell you about the two adorable distinguished older gentlemen who flirted with me all day. Remind me, too, to tell you about the guy who looked like Rob. And finally, remind me to come back and do this again next year.

I love, love, love it here. Not forever kinda love, but love it for a good visit love.

Okay, that’s about it from me. We’re off to listen to more great blues. And when I say great, I mean Legen—-wait for it—-dary.

I’m an Iris

DaGoddess @ 05:00

I'm an Iris

Stolen from here; Quiz here.

Live From Phoenix

DaGoddess @ 02:01

It’s meeeeeeeee!

We made it here just fine, if not a little close to the start of the gig. Somehow, I’d forgotten that Arizona is an hour ahead of California. However, the show started late and people weren’t even inside the venue when we got here. As we walked up to the place, Temple was there to greet us. He’s just as tall as he said he was. (It means nothing to you, but it’s kind of an inside joke or something.)

We grabbed our gear and headed inside, the bassist for the band saw us and he waved and started yakkin’ away. He was surprised to see us there. Apparently the owner of the venue/bandleader didn’t tell him we were going to be shooting the party. And, even though I told the guitarist, he’d forgotten. (He’s forgiven — he’s been sick and recording and typical multitasker, had too much on his plate to remember an email from me.) Anyhow, the gist of this is that we were greeted not just warmly, but enthusiastically and it made us feel good.

The music was fantastic. The people were interesting and delightful. And most importantly, Temple, Patty, and I were all able to get in and shoot and bop around to the music. While we weren’t the only photographers there, we were the only ones who were on the guest list and who were specifically requested. THAT was tres cool.

So now, I’m uploading photos from the camera to computer while Patty tries to sleep. Temple’s downstairs doing whatever he’s doing (uploading photos, I guess). Tomorrow is a long day. For some reason, I failed to comprehend that there was an actual blues festival during the day. I was under the impression that we’d just be shooting again at the club the second night. Nope. There’s a festival. 10-6. THEN we head back to the club to shoot more. Because, apparently, we’re gluttons for punishment. I’ll have definitely earned my pool therapy on Monday.

Okay, time for me to go to sleep. Barely keeping eyes open.

Hope your weekend is good.

Back soon.

Ta!

P.S. Jan, the Sigma is AWESOME! Precious and I are in lurve.

2009/02/20

Soldier Ride

DaGoddess @ 04:00

For those of you in San Diego, if you want to see something inspiring, I suggest you head down to Balboa Naval Hospital on Saturday, February 21 (tomorrow) at 10am. This will be the start of Soldier Ride in San Diego. The trip ends on Coronado.

I witnessed the arrival of those who participated in Soldier Ride in the summer of 2006. It was truly amazing. The amount of courage and determination in the faces of the riders, the love and admiration in the support crew and family and friends is enough to fill your heart.

Take some time out of your busy lives and do this. You won’t regret it.

I wish I could be there, too, but I will be out of town. Please go in my stead. And thank a veteran for me.

Thank you.

2009/02/19

Head East

DaGoddess @ 13:16

No, not the band. Me. I’m gonna head East tomorrow.

My friend, Patty, and I are going to get up at the crack of way-too-early, give a presentation at a school, and then head East. Where? Phoenix. More specifically, to Temple‘s house. Poor guy won’t know what hit him once we settle in.

Actually, T’s graciously offered his home to us while we’re in town to photograph a couple events. He’s going to come with us and help out, too. Should be fun! And there will be plenty of photos.

In the meantime, I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to get ready. Still have printing to do, packing, blah blah blah. Too much to do, not enough time. Ain’t that always the way?

2009/02/18

And So I Lived

DaGoddess @ 17:45

Today was pool therapy day. I went. I mean, I actually drove there. I even participated in therapy. I got back in the car. I drove home. I had to make two stops along the way. The getting in and out of the car sucked. But I did it.

And so I lived.

I’m miserable, but I lived through it. Hopefully the attorney will have everything in place for next week and all subsequent weeks with regards to the transportation. That’s a huge issue for me. I LOVE pool therapy and I’m sure I’m going to even like regular therapy. The simple fact is: I shouldn’t have to undo all the good that therapy does with driving after. It just doesn’t make sense.

I was supposed to go to a board meeting for the blues society tonight, but my back is toast, as are the muscles in my legs. And mid/upper back. And arms. In other words, pretty much everything hurts. Going to the meeting wouldn’t serve me or anyone else well in the long run. Grumpy, sore me isn’t exactly friendly, y’know? I just hope I feel better by Friday. I have a state to take over. More on that later.

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