Tag Archives: inspiration

Women in Photography Interview

25 Jan

 

Super excited to have been part of this new series put together by Marie Gardiner, a photographer and author based in the UK.  Make sure to check it out here!

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“Ahem. My lens is up here.”

27 Aug
Balanced Flow :: RI

Balanced Flow :: RI

 

You can thank David for that title. haha

This week, I was honored to be included in a pretty comprehensive list of Inspiring Female Landscape Photographers, put together by Sarah Marino.  She did a really nice job expressing how I feel when she says that instead of being a “female landscape photographer”, it would be great to be recognized as a landscape photographer who also happens to be female. Every industry has its challenges though, and hopefully resources like this list will help make the hard-working landscape photo-ladies easier to find when companies are looking for speakers, teachers, etc. 🙂

I feel so very honored to have made the list with so many other talented, inspiring women busting their butts to make it their goals a reality! Check it out, show Sarah some love and hopefully you’ll discover some new, awesome talent out there in the world.

As for the above shot?  I took that in Block Island a few weeks back.  I thought the composition had a nice “yin yang” potential, so I did the smart thing…plopped myself in the way of some incoming waves, and then was shocked when a rogue one snuck up on me and almost drowned my camera. haha  (Don’t worry…the gear is fine!)

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…

XO
Shannon

Free To A Good Home

6 Aug
Free Print!

Free Print!

So…I’m giving away a print…you know, to hang on your wall. Or to play frisbee with! Drink coaster extraordinaire! Gift wrap?? Whatever you want! If you win, its yours. One print. Love it and call it George.

You want in?? Leave your favorite quote below!

Today is the last day, tell your friends.  More details here.

The Edge of Forever

31 Jul
The Edge of Forever

The Edge of Forever

 

“We need, ourselves, to go to those edges, and peer over them, if not to see what lies beyond, then to see what lies within.”

I recently picked up a book called A Beautiful Anarchy by David duChemin…and I’ve been following along on his inspiring blog, same title.  One of his posts was about changing our perceptions, facing our fears and embracing each day with a sense of adventure.

In his words, “What would our art, our businesses, our relationships, look like if we embraced and nurtured a spirit of adventure in our daily lives? If we willingly went to new places, opened new doors, and explored new ideas? What would we discover there, about possibility, about others, and likely most of all about ourselves? How much more interesting would our lives be, free from the need to be surrounded by the familiar, the known, the certain, and the too-comforting illusion of safety? What kind of stories would we find ourselves living and telling? How would our audience for these stories, and for the art that emerges from them, grow, and how would our engagement with them change?”

Those are all very good questions.  Talk about an instant perception shift.

I’ve said for a long time that it’s very easy to get caught up in our own little box.  To get trapped in the day to day, to go to work, to bed, to eat the same foods, to let our souls wither on a bland diet of sameness.  We are biologically engineered to desensitize ourselves…its a survival mechanism that keeps our bodies alive.  But what does it do to our spirit?

The above photo was created as an homage to this idea of embracing the unknown.  Last weekend we took a road trip to Vermont, just to get a way for a day and to see some family.  I got up early on Sunday to catch the sunrise, which turned into an overcast morning and a sky full of texture.  It was nice to spend a little time in the peace and quiet, watching the world wake up.  As I sat on the edge of the dock, enjoying the moment, I started thinking about how important those little road trips and adventures are to my life.  As my cousin said, I’m a traveler.  But truly, what better way to develop an emotional connection with people and places than to experience them?  And how much better would the world be if we could all embrace things that were new and different, rather than demonizing and judging without true knowledge of…whatever it is…to draw on?

So, today, I encourage you to embrace adventure.  Try something new.  Eat something different.  Cook a new recipe.  Learn a new skill.  See the world.  Travel to a place that you’ve never been.  Take a leap of faith into the unknown and revel in the experience.

Life is a beautiful gift and it is meant to be messy, joyful and most importantly, full.  Don’t wait until tomorrow.  Today, you stand at the edge of your forever.  Now is the time to embrace your future. 🙂

A little housekeeping…

This shot is a manual blend, Canon 7D, Induro tripod adventure series

Also, I’m looking for your help on an art project!  Pretty please with a cherry on top.  I’ll be giving out a free print to the person who’s quote gets chosen, and to one of the people who helped spread the word about it in the first place.  So please, check out the post, share it, and tell me what quote the image reminds you of. 🙂 

Inspirational Quotes Photo Giveaway!

29 Jul
CONTEST

CONTEST

Ok, I’ll admit it.  I’m an inspirational quotes junkie.  Or maybe just a quotes junkie.  I refer to notable quotes in real life situations.  I look to them when I’m having a down day.  I have an entire Pinterest board devoted to them.  No shoes and fashion board, but 104 quotes and pictures (so far) pinned to a board to remind me of the awesome things in life.

quotes

It may be silly, but those quotes connected with me. They picked me up on a down day, motivated me on days when I felt un-focused or unsure of my art and made me smile, reminding of the best parts of the life and people all around me.

What may be even sillier…besides the way the word “sillier” looks spelled out…is that I want to make one of those quotes/photo/pins so that my art can bring a smile to someone else’s face. 🙂  This isn’t a new thing for me.  I’ve done other posts involving quotography (example here, or here)….  But this time, I’m asking for your help!

So, I’d like to use this photo and your quote suggestion.  You can just put your comment in the comment section, and at the end of this, whoever’s quote I choose will get a free 8×10 photo print (see the poster at the top of the post for your print options)

Grow Old With You

Grow Old With You

Quotes must be submitted by next Wednesday, August 6th.

This giveaway, unfortunately, is only open to US residents.

Furthermore, if we get enough shares and likes on this bad boy, I may be persuaded to send out a second print to one of you as a show of thanks for the support *hint hint*! 🙂