Tag Archives: help

Be The Change…

13 Nov
Gray's Beach - Infinity

Gray’s Beach – Infinity

Typhoon Haiyan left much of the Philippines in ruins.  The death toll estimates are staggering, and the numbers are astronomical.

What numbers?

According to CARE.ORG:
11.3 million people affected
673,000 people displaced
300,000 of those people are without shelter
No electricity, no water, no food

Often, when it’s not in our backyard, it’s hard to empathize with someone else’s tragedy. It’s easy to turn a blind eye, to say it’s not my problem.  There is always a tragedy.  There is always someone who needs our money.  What about us, we’re struggling too, invest in the US.  And besides, the holidays are here.  I need to budget for presents, and turkeys and such.

Believe me, I helped run a non-profit, I know the drill.

I remember a few years back when we got hit with “Snow-Tober”, as we liked to call it.  Much of New England was out of power for a week, and it was difficult.  We were cold, many people were cranky, AND WE STILL HAD OUR HOMES.  We still had food, we still had water, and if you were lucky, you still had gas for your car, places you could shower, places you could warm up.

The victims of this typhoon have only destruction.

When I saw the photos, it affected me.  I asked myself what I could do to help.  Like everyone else, I live paycheck to paycheck and due to a few personal emergencies lately, my savings is depleted.  But one of my all time favorite quotes…well…paraphrases (research it, it’s a good passage) is: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Yesterday, I stumbled upon www.photocircle.net, which is a printer out of Germany and Hengki Koentjoro’s pledge to donate 50% of his profits from photo sales to CARE.ORG, which would in turn help the victims of the typhoon.  I immediately went to the website to buy a print.  Turns out international shipping is over $100, which I couldn’t afford, and if I could, would rather donate it as a lump sum to relief organizations.

Next, I sent off a few emails to see if there were American alternatives for this project.  BUST!

So finally, I decided to see if I could make some of this happen myself.  Last night I spent some time updating my site, and I WILL DONATE 50% of my profits on every sale through my online store between now and December 15th.  Specifically, I posted several new prints, which can be upgraded to canvas and/or framed.  Just hit the “customize it” button.  According to PhotoCircle.net, it takes about$130 to give emergency relief to a family for a month.  That is my goal.  At least $130.


The money will go to www.care.org/emergencies/typhoon-haiyan.  I chose CARE.ORG over the Red Cross, only because the margin was slightly better…less cost per dollar to fundraise.  To see those numbers, go here:   www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3568

Furthermore, I’ve asked other artists and small businesses to do the same!  If you need to buy presents for the holidays, but want to help, you don’t have to choose.  You can do both!  So far, my friends at Where to Willie PhotographyPrint Therapy, Fat Frog Photography, Jeremy Fulton Photography and Unbridled Bead Design have agreed to also donate a portion of their profits to relief efforts.

If you are an artist or small business owner and want to help, just let me know and I will add you to the list and put your link on my site. You can contact me at seespotsphoto@yahoo.com

For those of you who would rather just donate directly to relief efforts, I urge you to do so!  This isn’t about us as small businesses.  This is about helping our fellow humans.  Find a charity you are comfortable working with, and give.  I guarantee you will change someone’s life, and in the process, change your own.


Landscape Game-Face

15 Jan
Andover Lake (After Feedback)

Andover Lake (After Feedback)

An alternate title for this is, “Thank Goodness for PhotoShop Wizard-Friends”.

I’ve just come off of a long run of landscape photo obstacles. I was swamped with wedding and portrait edits, then I had hand surgery, then Wimpy Shann didn’t want to go out in the cold… haha Last week, however, an opportunity presented itself, so I took it. I put my warm scarf on, put a glove on my one good hand (the other one was sill in a surgical wrap at that point), told my friend to carry my tripod, and off we went.

The sky was lovely, beautiful wispy clouds with a jet streaking across the colorful sunset. The lake was tranquil, and there were some fun rocks conveniently jutting out from the shore. So far, so good…right?

I took several brackets, trying a number of different angles and heights. When we finally got cold enough, we packed it in, went back to the car and headed for the first cup of hot cocoa we could find. 🙂

I eventually got to the business of editing, and had a serious, major brain meltdown. After my third attempt (read that as “fail”) at an edit, I decided I needed help. I reached out to my very talented photographer-friend David Pasillas (if you don’t follow him, please start!) because he is a photoshopping wizard, and because he has a spectacular ability to analyze the psychology of an image.

“What does that mean?” you say. Well, let me tell you!

This was the email I sent to David:

Why….? I can’t figure out how to make this look the way I want it to look. I know that’s not a lot to go on, but you’re an editing wizard. Make it work?

His response:

I’ll have you know I crawled out of my warm bed to have a look in photoshop. Here’s what I see…I feel like a doctor about to deliver the bad news haha…

I don’t think it is going to make it.

The vignette throws the water off for me. Somehow there are dark shadows and very bright highlights on the lake. It’s a little distracting to me. Maybe if the middle of the water wasn’t so bright, the scene would work better.

The rocks in the foreground seem like they’re not going to work either because the mountains in the background are totally blacked out. That tells my brain that the rocks in the foreground should be really dark too, or at the very least, have much deeper shadows.

Don’t tell David I said this…but he is right. The prognosis wasn’t good.

Andover Lake (Before Feedback)

Andover Lake (Before Feedback)

I really took what he said to heart, thinking about the way our brains process information and what looks “normal” to our eyes. Raw files give us the ability to do a lot of crazy things to an image…I’ve seen snaps that used to be a total loss turn into great images with some work. But doing that requires a lot of work and thinking on our – the editors – end of things.

In my case, I realized that I had spent a bit too much time in portfolio-land, and needed to flip the switch to “landscapes” in my brain. In general, the skills needed to process different genres of images are the same…however, they may not be applied in the same fashion or amounts. I wasn’t thinking about the subtlety of light across a quiet lake…I was still stuck in the multi-portrait workflow.

So…back to square one! I took a better (more meticulous) approach to this one and came out with something I could, at the very least, post on the internet. Haha 😉