Leap of faith…

Sometimes I look back and I’m amazed at how much my life has changed in the last few years. It isn’t just Covid closures, but the goals I have achieved along the way. You see I have this old friend that has moved away that I talk to and we have the most insane conversations. We can always count on each other to tell it like it is.

A conversation with this friend brought me to start this blog. I had never thought of doing a blog before and I never thought anyone would be interested in what I have to say, after all I’m just a Mom. She convinced me that I have something to say and I should give it a try. I still remember when the first person read it. I was amazed! When I got my first follower I called her on the way home from work. I called her when I hit double digits and I’ll call her when I hit 100, 1000 and every time I add another zero to the total.

Another conversation with this same friend gave me the push to start my photography business. I went to a craft fair with another friend and there was a guy selling photo prints at a booth and making a lot of money. My friend and I were looking through his work when she leaned over to me and told me that I should sell my photos. They are better than this guys photos. I laughed it off. After all, I’m just a Mom. I told my old friend about this craft fair conversation and she agreed. I should take my photography to the next level. I was not convinced. So she started to send me links to online photo contests. I entered some to humor her and I was shocked as I actually started to place. How in the world I could place in a contest with tens or hundreds of thousands of entries was mind blowing to me. I looked at the winning shots and did not feel worthy to be among such great photographers. But there I was and not just once, but in several of the contests I entered. I finally believed her and opened an online store and started submitting to galleries.

This is important to me because starting tomorrow I’ll have a photo on display in a gallery in New York City. It isn’t the MOMA but it is in New York City and I’m very excited! If you are in the area check out the show at the Agora Gallery. My photo on display is the featured image on this post. Not bad for “just a Mom”.

I’m far from rich, famous and quitting my day job. But it is nice to see hard work paying off. It feels good to be able to do something I love, taking that leap of faith and actually doing better than I ever expected. Someday I’ll be in the MOMA. Just not today and that is OK. I can work my way up to that level. When I get there, (I don’t care if all I have in is a little 8×10) I am going to the opening reception and I’m going to wear an amazing multi color dress. Of course I can only see the dress in my head, but I’ll design and sew it myself if I have to. It will not be the first time and it will probably not be the last.

To my readers: I thank you for your support. I hope I can inspire at least one of you to reach for the stars, take a leap of faith, try something you felt was impossible and achieve greatness.

Kicking butt in 2021!

My coworker that I share an office with told me today that I’m super annoying. That may offend many people. But I wasn’t offended at all. Do you know why I’m annoying? I am getting stuff done and checking off my “to do” list items one after another. Apparently, that is really annoying to people who are not doing anything.

She said it’s like being trapped for 8 hours with a super peppy cheerleader. I told her in my defense… I was one in high school. I feel awesome so far this year (even though we are only a week in). I am getting stuff done. I am getting up and exercising before work every day. I am eating healthy. I am cleaning closets and purging old toys and books. I am organizing my business and revamping my social media strategy and website. I have a LONG to do list and I’m ticking off items one at a time.

Accomplishment is annoying. When did that happen? I find people who are smashing goals as inspiring. I see someone who lost 100 lbs in a year and is now wearing a sexy cocktail dress at their 50th birthday party as inspiring. Their smile is contagious. It makes me want to put down that cupcake and hit the dance floor! If someone overcomes obstacles and achieves greatness it’s inspiring, not annoying. That’s why they write books and make movies about things like that. But you know what all those people at the top have in common? They all had nay sayers in their lives who told them they couldn’t do it or that it was stupid or they were annoying and should just settle in like everyone else.

I don’t want to be like everyone else. A boring life of mediocrity sounds like an absolute nightmare to me. I have goals. I want to achieve things. I want to travel and see things and do things and inspire other people to rise up out of the muck and dare to be annoying. I hope to someday inspire others to do the things they dream of no matter what that dream is. They don’t need to be anything special or different to do great things they just need to try. Then if you fail regroup and try again. Keep trying and modifying and trying until one day you did it! Despite the nay sayers and the people who thought you were annoying.

I know some people are thinking about their dreams as they read this and think…yeah, right. That’s easy for you to say you have done so much already. Well, I started out with nothing…twice and rebuilt my life. Nothing was handed to me either time. In fact both beginnings were full of drama. Both times I had a job. My clothes, some personal stuff and that’s pretty much it. Both times I was super broke. Here I am now. I worked hard for everything I have achieved by doing what most people are not willing to do… work for it.

Who am I really? I’m a woman in my 40’s. I’m a mess. I’m overweight. I’m a wife and a mother to two little boys. I’m a special needs mom and a heart mom. I’m a working mom. I’m a photographer, an artist and a writer. I’m not anyone special. I’m just someone with goals and dreams who isn’t afraid of working hard to achieve them. If I can do it, you can be annoying to people around you and achieve amazing things as well.

Be annoying… Achieve great things in 2021.

What the hell was I thinking?

Yeah, I ask myself that a lot. I would love to be one of those people who can just chill and be happy exactly as they are and never aspire for more. It could be anything… more knowledge, more experiences or just overall a better life. Ok, I’m sure pretty much everyone on the planet wishes they had more of something. But how many people actually hustle to make it happen? The answer is different in different cultures but here I see people hustle until they get a good job then they just stop and get stuck.

I want more. I have traveled to more places than 99% of the people I know but I still want to see more.

I actually took a step I have dreamed about and I’m making my dream of actually making money as a photographer a reality. Now, I’m not quitting my day job any time soon but a couple hundred dollars a month is pretty good for a side gig that I have only been at for a year. (I have over 30 years experience as a photographer, but selling my photos is new). It’s work and it was hard to get going but getting surprise checks that something sold is exciting.

The other step I took is writing a book. I wrote a travel book but while it was with the editor covid hit, the world closed and now I pretty much need to redo most of the book. So, while I’m waiting for the world to open again to see where the dust settles on travel, I’m working on a couple other writing projects. I have a series of books that I have had in my mind for a while now that I’m writing the first book now. I am also talking to a friend about writing a book together and tossing ideas back and forth on that.

I have health and fitness goals. I have self care goals. I have goals for adding in meditation and yoga back into my life again.

I have dreams and an ever growing list of places I want to go. I want to find another dance group to be a part of again. I’m looking forward to being able to have a book club again. I look forward to someday taking my kids to Disneyland.

I have an insane amount of things I want to do. I have goals. I have a vision of my future self enjoying a glass of wine with my husband watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean from our balcony with a light coastal breeze bringing in the smell of the saltwater with it. I see a gallery of my own with half of it my photography and half of it artwork from those on the Autism spectrum and disabled artists. I see that gallery as a place for those on the spectrum to have a place to work as well as display their art. I see myself traveling with my family as I continue to write and take photos from all over the world enjoying the differences in other cultures and cuisines as I learn the languages and make new friends. I hope to someday be an inspiration to others in leading a positive life where all my hard work has paid off to the point that I am invited to speak to groups about things I am passionate about. I hope to teach photography workshops someday instead of the one on one sessions I do now. Someday I hope I inspire someone to do something amazing that changes the world for the better.

But until that day when it all falls into place… I’ll continue to slowly work on my goals and dreams until one day they have all come true.

My book is done and off to the editor!

I’m both excited and terrified. I actually finished writing it!

Since I got this far, I need to follow through and publish it. That is where the terror comes in.

I usually don’t care much about what people think but once it’s out there people might actually read it. Once they read it they will either like it or hate it. Liking it and telling all their friends who also read it and like it is exciting! But, people reading it and hating it is terrifying. Reading it and wanting to talk to me about it is already making me uncomfortable.

I know I should be proud of all I have accomplished and I am. Where I’m fine to stand out in the crowd and be the life of the party, lead a team or teach a class when it comes to my creative endeavors I am actually quite reserved.

I’m just uncomfortable listening to people talk about things I create. I always have been. I never speak up about what photos are mine in the galleries when I’m there unless someone asks me. If I’m there to look at the show myself, I don’t even mention that I have pieces in it while I’m there. I prefer to fade into the background like my work was created by secret magic fairies in the middle of the night while everyone was asleep and I have no idea how I got there.

I feel that is why I am so bad at self promotion. I barely post anything on my Facebook photography page. It just updates on where my work can be seen. My Instagram is hit and miss. I usually post old, unedited images on there. I should be posting my new work. I’m also bad with tags. Why isn’t there some kind of AI that can look at my photo and tag it for me? It is an area I need to improve and one I’ll be working on in 2020.

The image on this post is a sunrise. I figured it was appropriate since it shows the start of the day and I’m about to start something new myself and add “Author” to my resume.

#selfpromotionishard #bookisdone

Upgrade!

I have never had a professional level camera, ever. But I look at them and dream of the beauty and all that would be possible if I had gear that could actually handle all that my mind can think up. I have given tips and advice to people that have cameras I could only dream of being able to afford while I’m out shooting with my entry level crop sensor DSLR. I sigh. Their camera without the lens cost more than my camera with all the lenses and has so many more features.

It looks like 2020 will be the year. I have been saving up and putting aside all my sales and winnings from my photography and I’m roughly halfway to my new system. I’m going full frame and mirrorless. I know this probably doesn’t excite any of you, but I am very excited!

Research is going on now. I’m comparing all the options and narrowed it down to 3 very comparable cameras. I have my top choice and 2 alternates. Now I keep saving up and wait until Mike’s Camera does the demo day at the Sacramento Zoo in a few months. At the demo day you can check out items for an hour at a time and go around the zoo and try them out. I’m now sorting out lenses to see what would be best for me to start with since they can easily cost more than the camera. Of course I’m all my research I have realized that I can easily spend tens of thousands of dollars on new gear but, that is never going to happen unless I become a famous photographer for National Geographic. Let’s just say I’m not holding my breath waiting for that.

My goal… to have it in my hands before I go to Vegas to teach at the educational conference in November. If I can pull that off then watch out world! I’m going to have some awesome photos when I return because I’ll be out exploring when I’m not teaching!

Oh, and that long standing bucket list item of doing the sunset helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon then fly back over the Vegas strip at night is totally going to happen! I’m going to need strategic planning of my classes and a rental car.

The featured photo this time was taken in September on my UK trip. I may not have a new camera yet, but I can still look at all the places I have been and daydream while I wait.

Holy QR code Batman!

Sometimes awesome upgrades cause me more work, although they are pretty awesome.

One of my new goals is to go to opening night at the gallery every time I have a piece in that show that is close enough for me to go to. Saturday was one of those nights for the Shades Of Red show at one of the local galleries and they have updated their art labeling system with QR code’s so people can just scan them and poof they get right to the artist’s website. Pretty cool stuff right? Yeah, I thought so too.

So, what’s the problem? Well, my website has taken a bit of a back burner while I have been working on my book. Now I need to do some major updates. As they were talking about the updates to the modern gallery I’m standing there wondering how I am going to update my website to feature the photos currently on display. I’m so focused on thinking about my website that I let out a very unprofessional “huh” when they call my name and ask me to talk a bit about one of my photos that is in the front room of the gallery and is creating creating quite a buzz just before passing me the microphone. Thankfully I regained my composure quickly and managed to NOT sound like a complete idiot.

Lessons learned…

1. Always pay attention to what is going on.

2. Keep your website updated (last update was in September just before I went to the UK).

3. Be prepared to talk about each piece when I’m the featured artist in April. Some have nice stories. Some not so much. Some are boring like I just cleaned my lens and went to take some photos in my yard to make sure I got all the spots off. Beautiful photos, boring story. No deep meanings here. But I can tell you how I was feeling and what I was thinking when I took every photo.

For your viewing pleasure here is the photo creating the buzz. It’s really gorgeous in person.

This photo is on the promotional flyer for the Shades of Red show (it’s mine too)

I also have a third piece in this show it’s an actual sunset when the Napa Valley was on fire. We were a few miles outside of the evacuation zone so we were ok, but the air was chunky.