Tag Archives: collaboration

Your Best Shot!

29 Dec
The Space Between :: Ricketts Glen, PA

The Space Between :: Ricketts Glen, PA

I’m sorting through this year’s shots, trying to come with a top 5 photos list.  It’s harder than I thought it would be.  I this photo because it reminds me of such and such.  I think this photo is good because the edit was hard and I learned something new.  I like… well, you get the point.

As I was working on this top 5 list, it also occurred to me that I would love to see YOUR favorite photo(s) of 2014!  Are you willing to share? 🙂  If so, post a link in the comments so everyone see them and show them some love.

The Creative Process

3 Sep
Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray

Having a creative outlet has changed my life.  I’ve been places, I’ve met people, I’ve poured myself into projects, come out of my shell, taken risks, failed and learned to persevere, and I’ve experienced life all because I involved myself in ‘The Process‘.

When people ask me what I want to do with my life, ultimately, I always come back to photography.  There are times when I tell myself to be more responsible, to try to get another (more useful) degree with which to make more money, to do something with computers or math or business.  Make more money.  Live easier.  Be more…adult?

Ultimately, that little voice dies out (until such time where I’m struggling to pay a bill) beneath the irrefutable logic of happiness.  I simply can’t fathom pouring my energy into something that holds no appeal.  I’ve wracked my brain trying to imagine what sort of business degree I’d want to spend years paying for, so that I could get a firm grasp on…..some…..one…else’s dream?  The only answer I keep coming back to is that I want to grow MY BUSINESS.  Investing in my skills as a photographer and building my brand never seems like a hardship.  It’s not easy, but most things worth doing aren’t.  And more importantly, my photography is rewarding in countless ways.

I long ago decided that one of my life goals was to experience life.  It would seem that owning my own business and investing in my photography has been a great catalyst, ever propelling me in the direction of living.


I life skill.

For all it’s creativity, running a business is still a business.  I set goals, have budgets, write contracts, hire, coordinate travel, negotiate, make deadlines, and do math.  You know….adult stuff.  Boss stuff.  CEO and owner stuff.  (Impressed with me yet?)


I travel.  

In my life I have…

Photographer's Life

Photographer’s Life

….climbed to the top of many somethings just to photograph the view.  Or sometimes, the lack of view.  lol

Moray, Peru

Moray :: Peru

….been to several countries, most recently Peru.

Bones in the Sand

Bones in the Sand :: Maine

….explored as many states and spaces and things within my own country as I can, getting up too early and staying up way too late, driving more hours than most sane people probably do all in the name of photography. 🙂


I meet people.

I’m incredibly shy.  I mean, I put on a good face about a lot of things, but in the end, reaching out to new people is a very intimidating thing for me.  However, having a business has given me a reason to network and honestly, I’m so grateful that I have.  I have made good friends (like co-host David Pasillas, among many many others) simply because of the power of the internet and the drive to make art.  In finding the courage to reach out and to make myself accessible to others, I have developed a strong network of friends, of confidants, of supporters, of knowledge, of stories and experiences…all of which have greatly enriched my life.

Networking, by the way, also brings great opportunity.  For those of you in the CT area, who happen to like wine and good food, I will have my prints hanging at Francesca’s…all stemming from a friend putting in a good word.  And this is me, returning the favor! lol  If you’re in the Collinsville area, check them out. 🙂


I take chances.

Yeah…they don’t always work out.  And sometimes, it kind of sucks. haha  But the times it does work out more than make up for the times it doesn’t.  We lose 100% of the shots we don’t take, right?  And I view the misses as learning experiences, so really…even they aren’t that bad.  We can’t expect people to understand our genius, our art or our stories if we hide them away in the shadows.  I’ve learned that you have to take chances, to be loud, to try new things, accept critiques, be open to whatever life hands you and be willing to promote yourself both to grow your business, and to grow your soul.


And speaking of growing your soul…. I appreciate.

How can you create beautiful images without first appreciating what the world has to offer?  Photos are more than just a place or a moment.  A photograph is an emotional memory painted on film.  Without that emotional spark, that outpouring of feeling, that bit of care taken to make an image shine…most photos will just fall flat.

Enders Falls - Mono and Moody

Mono and Moody :: CT

A finished, edited image doesn’t just represent the way a person, place or thing looked at a particular moment in time.  It also represents patience.  It represents years of growth and skill.  It represents the way the photographer felt at the time the shutter released.  It represents the way the photographer felt when he or she sat down to edit the image, and as with all art, it represents how the viewer feels when they see the final product.  All that, and more, in one little photograph.

When you think about it that way, photography is a strong reminder to  A) learn to truly see the world and depth behind everything around you…. and B) appreciate both the good and beautiful things the world has to offer…and C) recognize the inter-connected nature of life.


I…well…have a creative outlet.

The last one may sound obvious, but there is a certain joy that comes along with having a creative outlet.  It is a release for negativity and stress, its a place to lose myself, to escape the day to day, and to bring a sense of accomplishment and pride to my life.  It is one of the best sources of relaxation and frustration, and by far one of the most therapeutic addictions I have. Photography grounds me and motives me at the same time. 🙂


I expect if I think hard enough about it, I can find a million little ways that having a creative outlet has impacted my life, mostly in a positive way.  Truly, I can’t imagine my life without creativity in it.  In all it’s various forms, it feeds my soul.  Music, photography, writing…eating a chef’s imaginative meal…enjoying my niece’s interpretation of the world reflected in her drawings…building a piece of furniture with my father…hmmmmm…speaking of, I have to finish the blue print for that bathroom vanity at Mom and Dad’s house. lol  Uh.. Anyway…  Creativity is everywhere, and often can be found down non-traditional but fulfilling paths.  Sometimes its just a matter of taking that first step and before you know it, your creative spirit will run free.  If you feel a bit stifled and constricted by your everyday life, I encourage you to find your muse.  Once you experience the joy it can bring you, you won’t look back. 🙂

This is just one of several blog posts going around, talking about what having a creative outlet means to your life.  Please, check out the other artists and creatives who took the time to express what it means to their lives and businesses.  The hub with all of the links is here.  If you want to be part of the discussion, put together your own post and send me the link.  I’ll include you in the hub.  If you post it on social media, make sure to tag David or I, and add the hashtag #create. We’ll find ya. 🙂

We Were Together, I Forget The Rest

19 Aug

GrowOldWithYou_SpecialElite (1)
Earlier this month I asked for your help – submissions of your best feel good or love quotes – to create a piece of Pinterest-friendly photo art.  Today, I present to you, the final project! 🙂

So many thanks to everyone who sent in a quote.  Between all of the social medias, I had more than enough to choose from.  It was a bit of a unique and interesting project, in that I got a bit of insight into what you thought about when you saw the photo.  It was really cool to see everyone’s interpretation of the image, and how it made them feel.  I always feel like, in creating my images, I give a little bit of myself to the world.  Those of you who submitted quotes…well…you gave me a little piece of your world, and I am grateful for that. 🙂

Now, the winner of the print is Marie over at Miles Don’t Matter.  One of the quotes she submitted was actually a paraphrased version of this Walt Whitman quote.  I loved both versions of the quote…her submissions, and the exact line from the poem, but went with the full quote because the phrasing felt less modern.

Another great big huge thank you goes out to my friends at Print Therapy.  The font needed to convey the mood and tone of the project, and Melissa at PT really helped me narrow the font options down.  This old typewriter font that she picked out felt perfect.  It went with the aged and worn feel of the trees, while adding to the feel of old time, committed love that the quote conveyed.  All in all, this was a super project to work on.  I loved it so much, in fact, I may try this again in a few months…so keep your eyeballs peeled for that bit of fun.

In the meantime (no rest for the weary, right?) the next project – a blog tour – is brewing.  Expect to see more about that in Sept!

Ok, friends…I’ve got some photos to edit.  Until the next blog post…


It’s Who You Know

12 Dec
She’s So Shy, Hiding Behind All Those Branches

She’s So Shy, Hiding Behind All Those Branches

The other day, my good friend David, with whom the above photo was shot, put up an interesting post.  In essence, he talked about intimidation being a barrier to success that many photogs and photo enthusiasts face.

Honestly, as a photographer and small business owner, I can not stress enough the importance of having confidence in your product.  Obviously there is a difference between self-promotion and over-bearing ego, but if you’re not willing to tell the world about your genius, who will?  That’s a bit of a general statement, and there are a lot of parts of photography where it is applicable, but for now, let’s narrow it down to who you know.

Specifically, in his post, David mentioned that I was confident enough to reach out to him on a professional level and from that one email has blossomed a great friendship, one that I am truly grateful for both on a photographic and a personal level.

David Pasillas, Cali photog capturing New England

David Pasillas, Cali photog capturing New England

Beyond being a friend, David has been a great resource for me when I have technical questions, and we have helped each other build our brands by cross marketing.  In today’s saturated photography fields, having someone to help spread the word and to vouch for your work goes a long way.  It’s not the only item in a long list of small-business-to-do’s…but it’s important and it shouldn’t be overlooked.

I have been very fortunate to meet some incredible photographers via my own work on the web and in my community.  It is a competitive market, but building contacts and having a referral network can benefit you as much as it benefits the rest of the crowd.

For the coming year, I hope all of you feel brave enough to reach out to at least one or two photographers whose work you admire/respect.  You may get nothing more than a polite reply.  Or, you may spur a lasting friendship and help get your name out to another market in the process.

You can’t win if you don’t play, right? 😉

That being said, I wanted to just give you all a quick thank you for your interactions with me.  I enjoy chatting with you guys, reading your comments, meeting and working with some of you.  So far, this blog has been a great experience and that is 100% due to your support.  For those of you who already email me, I love hearing for you.  For those of you who don’t, but want to reach out, do it!

A Few Reminders…

~ I’m hosting a winter photo challenge for those of you interested.  I know the above photo is Fall…but sadly, the snow finally arrived here so the time is right for winter shots. haha

~ December 15 is THE LAST DAY to have your purchase through my online store benefit the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.  It’s easy to forget about the great need there when it’s not part of our everyday world…but Filipinos will be rebuilding for a very long time.  There is strength in numbers, and together, we can make a difference! www.zazzle.com/skalahan

Midas Touch

11 Sep

It’s time to (re)reveal my August collab! (If you didn’t get yours in quite yet, let Nick know at submit@nickexposed.com …it’ll take him a little bit to put the gallery together anyway!)

There are many – often contradictory – versions of the myths surrounding Midas, the historical king of Phyrgia (a region in Asia Minor).  These tales have been told time and again by Ovid and Aristotle, Chaucer and Nathaniel Hawthorne to name a few.  Although there are many different variations of Midas Golden Touch, often involving different details and characters, the base and moral of the story has always remained the same.

According to the tale written by Ovid, Midas showed kindness to the satyr (half man/half goat) Silenus, the foster father of the god Dionysus.  To express his gratitude, the god granted Midas one wish.  He asked for the ability to turn anything he touched into gold.  In several versions of the story, Dionysus questioned the decision, but at the king’s insistence, eventually granted Midas with the Golden Touch.

Midas’ motivation for wanting the Golden Touch varies among authors, but it is usually attributed to greed and vanity.

The Touch

The Touch

In the end, Midas realizes he can’t eat, drink or touch his loved ones without turning them to gold.  He regrets his wish and learns that gold (aka material possessions) only goes so far on the road to happiness.

The Golden Flower

The Golden Flower

As someone who lives on a tight budget, I can easily identify with this story.  I’ve never been a wealthy person, but because of that, I learned the value of hard work.  More importantly, I learned to appreciate the connections and relationships I have with people and to live fully.  My life has been rich in memories and love, despite my tax bracket and for that I am infinitely grateful.

Being your best self isn’t easy – the important things in life rarely are. But respecting yourself…loving yourself…requires dedication to the idea that you deserve a full and happy life. Invest in yourself, learn to appreciate what you have, forgive, cherish the simple joys in life, love without hesitation and recognize your self-worth. Happiness and gratitude are two sides of the same coin – by choosing to be our best self, we are rewarded with both.

To Sparkle, or Not To Sparkle…

7 Sep

That is the question!

Generally, I’m not big on revealing my collab photos until after the deadline, as I don’t want to influence someone else’s creative process…but in this case, I feel like a teaser is in order!

I decided that I wanted a children’s tale that not only meant something to me personally, but also one that had a moral I could identify with.  I chose Midas’ Touch because although I love my camera gear as much s the next person, I’m not a stuff person.  I’m a meaningful relationships kind of person, hence why I love our photo community! 😉

I’ll go into that more when I make the full submission post, but for now…I wanted your opinions.  To sparkle, or not to sparkle?? 🙂

Midas Touch - I Ain't Sayin' She's a Gold Digger

Midas Touch – I Ain’t Sayin’ She’s a Gold Digger


Midas Touch - Oooohh, Shiny!

Midas Touch – Oooohh, Shiny!


Community Collaborative Project :: August

17 Aug

Once upon a time, in a far away land (called the Interwebs), there was a magical camera.  For years, this magical camera brought joy to millions by capturing moments and memories.  The camera thrived, it’s days full of smiles and cheese…or at least, people talking about cheese which subsequently…mysteriously…made them smile!  It was a happy time in the Interwebs…until a shadow fell over the land.

Slowly but surely, the camera began having difficulties.  Basic compositions were hard to think through.  ISO’s and Time values became mind-boggling concepts.  The camera was in a fog.  Everything he tried felt flat and colorless…and the camera checked…he wasn’t set for monochromes!  What the magical picture-maker needed was some inspiration…  a “Creative Challenge”, so to speak.

Just as the camera came to that realization, a knight in shining armor raced up.  “Camera!  Thou art in a creative rut!  But fear not, a solution hath arrived.”  The knight proceeded to tell the camera (and, due to his lack of volume control, most of the Interwebs) about this month’s Collaborative Creative Challenge hosted by Sir Nick Exposed and the fair maiden Seeing Spots Photography.  Talk about impeccable timing!

The camera learned that this month’s challenge was to create a childhood tale pictoral.  The idea was to bring to life an image that represents both details from your favorite childhood tale AND your feeling about that part of the tale.  Participants are encouraged to think about the potential editing styles BEFORE shooting.

For example, if you’re choosing a sad Grimm’s tale, would you choose to underexpose the image when you shoot it?  Or change to a cooler color balance?

Is it a happy moment within the story?  Would you choose to shoot a bright scene with vibrant colors?

The challenge isn’t just to create a storyboard, it is to create an image with emotional impact.  We want more than just Goldilocks’ adventures…we want to know what Goldilocks meant to you!  This is your chance to break out some dusty books, to reminisce, to tell your children why we don’t wear red hoods in the forest and most importantly, to lose yourself in a creative project!

This project will run from tomorrow August 18th to Sunday, September 2nd at midnight.  All submissions should be sent to submit@nickexposed.com before midnight on the 2nd.  We are hoping for one exceptional photo from each of you, though we will happily take more than one if you’re the over-achieving sort.  We also want you to spread the word.  If you are getting something out of these challenges, it makes sense that your other photo friends would also get something out of it too, right?  So reblog, Facebook it, tweet away, phone a friend…or…in the spirit of a fairy tale, try a magical “share the awesomeness” spell.  It’s like…a fairy TELL. 😉

Silhouettes Gallery

11 Aug

…is up and running!!  What another AMAZING Collaboration!!

We can’t express enough, how much we love and appreciate all of your participation in these projects month after month!  You guys really rocked this collaboration…so very impressive!  So, click the link, check out all of the awesome photos that YOU…yes, YOU (you sweet photog, you) submitted and then get your mind ready to be blown by the fun and exciting collab we have lined up for you next!

Not gonna lie…it’s going to be rad.

Without further ado…..  THE GALLERY!

And the Beach Theme Continues…

10 Aug

You know what I learned from my friend Will?  That most “No Tresspassing” signs are more of a suggestion than a rule.  Which is good, because I’m not much of a rule breaker….  But suggestions…weeeeeelllll….

Annisquam Light Pano

Annisquam Light Pano

Here is the thing.  Boston ain’t cheap.  Tolls on the Mass Pike ain’t cheap. Gas really ain’t cheap.  Since I had already spent a considerable amount of money over the weekend aaaaaannnnnd woke up on 4 hours of sleep specifically to take photos before I raced home to get on with the rest of my day, I wasn’t leaving without a photo of this lighthouse. =)

My first attempt at finiding the lighthouse did prove to be a bit of a disappointment.  There was definitely no where to park, even if I wanted to. haha  The light is located on a dead-end in a very New England-type-neightborhood.  In other words, the roads were so narrow, you could barely fit a car down them, let alone park!  But, I had seen enough photos of the light that I knew there had to be a way.

I left the neighborhood and traveled up a road that appeared to be running parallel to the beach.  I believe the Photo-Gods were feeling generous, because within minutes I stumbled upon a very public land trust with beach access and parking!

I hiked down to the shore, still feeling a little unsure of which areas were designated “public” vs “private”.  I determined the best way to resolve the issue was to walk through the water….those signs didn’t say anything about “private ocean”!!  I waded along, taking shots from various vantages points, slowly making my way towards the cove I eventually shot this pano from.  The non-ruler breaker part of me was happy, the “I’m not leaving without a shot” side of me was happy…the only part of me that was unhappy were my sunburned legs.  Turns out sunscreen, no matter how generously applied, washes off in the ocean if you wade through it for long enough. Ouch!

This image also happens to be one of my two submitted images for the “Self-Edit Challenge” I co-hosted with friend and fellow photog David Pasillas. The gallery for that will be posted soon!

Sunset Silhouettes

31 Jul

By now, everyone’s images for the July collaborative project are probably, mostly submitted.  Seems like a good time to finally put up a few that I have taken over the last two weeks. =)

The first image is one you may recognize if you follow the blog…and…well, why wouldn’t you be?? 😉  A few days ago, I posted an HDR of one of the lighthouses on Block Island.  Conveniently, the under-exposed bracket also makes a nice silhouette!

Lighthouse Silhouette

Lighthouse Silhouette


My second submission was really an excuse to take pictures of a purty sky. 🙂 I pulled over on the side of a mosquito-y road to take some photos of rows of corn beneath a great sunset.  Turns out, the corn photos were a bust…but the powerline silhouettes were ripe for the taking!  (Heh…that was almost a harvest joke. I’m so punny.)

Powerline Silhouette

Powerline Silhouette

This project was a lot of fun.  There are so many option for silhouette images…it was almost hard to narrow down what I wanted to shoot.

What did you guys think of the project?