It’s official…

I have been secretly pondering making my photography a business and researching options to sell my photos for roughly six months now. It all started out at a craft fair where a guy was selling prints. Simple 4×6, 5×7 and 8x10s of photos he took. He was doing pretty well and as I looked through his photos I realized they were not that great but he was making pretty good money selling the prints anyway. I started telling a friend about it and that got me started on doing it myself.

I started posting photos on Instagram and every day I get a few new followers that I don’t know and in roughly 6 months I have about 1,000 followers. I had no idea that was good until I was asking a friend a question about Instagram since I am clueless and she pointed it out to me. That got me thinking even more.

I started entering online photography contests to see if I’m good enough and rating in the top 30% in pretty much every contest. No solid wins, but I stay in the top third. I finish most in the top 500. That may not sound that great, but when it’s out of 20,000 to 80,000 people top 500 is pretty good.

After a month of entering contests I started looking into print prices, packaging options, postage options, online galleries and online sales options. I have looked into upgrading my computer and photo editing software. So far it has all been research and I have not said a single word and just kept researching this idea.

So, this idea has been festering and growing. I have been looking into all kinds of options. I have been forming a plan. I had surgery last week so I have been off work since then recovering. So, The hubby and I decide to go out to lunch while the kids are at school and I tell him my thoughts. He surprises me and is actually all for it! He was super supportive and that got me even more excited. So, that afternoon my photography business was formed. My accounts are set up ready for me to upload the files. I even made myself a logo that I love for all my websites, galleries and promotional materials. I’m re-editing a bunch of photos and will officially open my online stores for sales by September 1st (or at least that is the deadline I made for myself).

I’m excited and looking forward to seeing how this all goes. While doing portraits freelance will bring in quick money, I don’t like the idea of trading dollars for hours again. I already have a full time job and do not want another one. But I have 20 years of photos from around the world to pull from. My home is decorated with them. People inquire about where I got them. I may as well sell them and make some money like the guy at the craft fair.

Hot air baloons…3rd time’s the charm right?

I get up at 3am to go to another Hot Air Balloon Festival today. Everything is running late. (So much for sunrise take off photos) This is the smaller festival with only 7 balloons, but there is no wind so I’m hoping to capture the balloons in the air rather than just crashing into each other on the ground this time.

I made the best of the early morning despite the balloons not being up and walked around the ranch taking photos in the sunrise lighting until the first balloon was up. Once it was up I went to the far corner to get photos with less people in them. All together only 4 balloons took off.

It was not a total waste. I met two other photographers in the far corner. One told me that the Reno Hot Air Balloon Festival has about 50 balloons take off in the valley and you can see them easily from the top of a nearby hill away from the crowds of the festival… hmmm I may have a road trip in my future…

Temporarily homeless…

Termites. We have termites. So we are temporarily homeless while our home is tented to fumigate.

“Take a mini vacation” most people said. But with a kid with severe autism that does not do well with “new” that is not easy. So we are staying at my sister in laws partially vacant old house since they are in the process of moving to the new house. Not ideal, but the kids have more space than a hotel room and we are trying to make the best of it.


My love of photography goes back to when I was a kid and we would go camping in the Yosemite Valley every year just after school got out for summer. Every year I’d go to the Ansel Adams gallery and look at all the pictures. My parents got me my first camera when I was a pre-teen. It was a VERY basic 35mm. It had a manual film advance. The “zoom” lens flipped down and I don’t think it even had a flash. I loved that camera. Every summer I’d hike and take photos. My only photography lesson I had was the very small book that came with the camera. I looked forward to seeing my photos from my trip developed every year. Some of those photos are still my favorites.

I continued taking photos (and upgrading from that first camera). When we moved a few years ago I finally parted with my box of old film cameras. I’m all digital now and like my 1st film camera, my first digital camera was bulky and had a a whole 1.3MP. Yes. I can print an 8×10 tops from those photos as long as I don’t crop.

Basic beginnings and no frills have gotten me where I am today. My home is now decorated with photos I have taken in my travels. Due to the fact that I have 2 small very active and curious boys I have had to do some…let’s go with “upgrading” my previous (now broken) cameras. I am now the proud owner of my first DSLR and I have been taking photos almost every morning on the way to work to familiarize myself with it.

I started a photography challenge group on Facebook to encourage myself and a few creative friends to get out there and take photos once a month. It has inspired me to do more. That creative start lead me to enter a few online photography contests to see how well I do among other photographers. I’m not doing bad. I also find the other photographers inspirational.

This is just one more stop at my rediscovery of myself.

Sometimes your dreams come crashing down…

I have decided while my kids are small to start to venture out and explore my own backyard. After all, people come from all over the world to see the Napa Valley and San Francisco maybe I should stop complaining about being stuck in traffic behind a tour bus and start being a tourist myself!

My adventure begins on our 7th wedding anniversary. A big item on my husband’s bucket list was to ride in a hot air balloon. Boom! Hot air balloon ride over the Napa Valley booked. Happy anniversary to us! The day started pre-dawn. But the fog was too dense so we were moved to the alternate launch site over the hills (ie no longer over the Napa Valley). Given that my first hot air balloon ride was in Egypt over the Valley of the Kings I was not expecting to be wowed. The ride was less than spectacular. Over an hour in the air to go 2.3 miles. There was no wind. I walk faster than that! So it was rather disappointing but it’s checked off the list now.

I decide to get some nice hot air balloon photos after our disappointing anniversary ride and go to the Sonoma Hot Air Balloon Classic. So I get up before dawn and head out. The traffic was so bad I ditched my car at a park a couple miles away and just walked. Thankfully I did. I got there at dawn and the first hot air balloons were just standing up. I had dreams of taking awesome photos as all 30 balloons were in the air above the Napa valley… Then an hour into the event the wind started to pick up.

The main launch was scheduled for 7 AM. The wind was really starting to pick up. Balloons were starting to bump into each other on the ground. The crews were struggling to keep their balloons up. Then it happened… a HUGE gust came through and the balloons started to deflate almost in slow motion as people were running and screaming to avoid getting stuck under the balloons as they collapsed onto the crowd. (I don’t know why, they are made of lightweight fabric). I was chuckling on the little grassy hill I was waiting on for the main launch watching the chaos. Then the crowd started to run my way and I realized I need to get up and move or get trampled. I quickly got to my feet, grabbed my yoga mat and got out of the way. Shortly after they called off the festival and started packing up the balloons.

I never got to see them all in the air. It was rather disappointing. I decided to do a google search and found another hot air balloon festival a couple hours away from me in the Sacramento area in a few months. I plan on going and hopefully finally achieving my dream of beautiful photos of lots of hot air balloons in the sky at the same time. Fingers crossed for good weather. So far I have had a thick layer of our famous San Francisco Bay fog and our Napa Valley winds. The third time is the charm right?

Only time will tell…

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan…

I started this blog with dreams of reclaiming the passion and adventure I had while traveling in my 20’s and 30’s. Let’s just say things are getting off to a rough start.

My first adventure was meeting up with an Aussie friend in Cabo San Lucas for New Years a couple years ago. It was my first “solo” adventure and typical for us we had an amazing time. This renewed my Wanderlust and when I got home I planned a Caribbean cruise for the fall with another friend. The cruise was what we refer to as “the cruise from hell” yes, we were some of those poor souls that were stranded at sea fleeing hurricanes for a couple weeks. It may not sound that bad, but I’ll tell the tale later in another post.

It has taken me 6 months to recover from the cruise from hell and start to think about travel again. I am now thinking about my next adventure in fall 2019. It will be a land adventure rather than sea. Then while driving to work one day I got behind yet another tour bus for the Napa Valley tours from San Francisco and I started to think “Why do I have to wait to go somewhere to have an adventure? People come from all over the world to visit the stuff I drive past all the time and completely take for granted.”

So, while I wait for my next adventure abroad, I will be exploring my home with my camera looking for the beauty in my own backyard. Here are photos literally from my backyard while I reacquaint myself with my camera in preparation for adventure.

Where to begin…

This is the post excerpt.

I use to be fabulous. 

Seriously, everyone has that one friend where amazing things just happen when they are around. I’m that person. My life is filled with “What are the chances of that?”.  I have been told I should write a book. I never knew that was not normal. To me it is just my life. It has always been like that. I don’t know any different. 

Then I got married (for the 2nd time) later in life and had a couple kids. One day I stepped out of the shower, looked at myself in the mirror and wondered what happened? That was not my body. Who was this exhausted woman looking back at me? What happened to the adventurous woman who lived life to the fullest? 

I only have 5 weeks left paying Manimony. My youngest is in pre-school and my oldest starting kindergarten tomorrow.  I dusted off my passport several months ago and took my first trip in years to meet up with a friend for New Years. My 2nd trip is coming up in a month. I feel like I can finally start to breathe again. It is time to find myself again.

This is my journey back to that woman. The struggle to be true to yourself while working full time and being a wife and a mother. My re-discovery.