Gearing up for Palm Springs Photo Festival

The studio will be closed May 6th -13th. I’m excited to have the opportunity to assist Michael Ackerman ( a well known fine art, conceptual artist) at the Palm Springs Photo Festival this year. This is THE EVENT for commercial and fine art photographers on the west coast. I’m looking forward to meeting many art directors and editors I’ve admired for a long time.  I also look forward to the energy….there is a vibe when you get that many creative people in one place discussing what they love. 

Be ready for me to “blow up” my Instagram feed with all of the festivities.

Connect 2017 from PALM SPRINGS PHOTO FESTIVAL on Vimeo.

WPPI -What’s a commercial photographer doing at a wedding and portrait convention and trade show?  – St. George, Utah Commercial photographer

It’s been a busy time for me lately. Just back from a trip to a Texas I headed right back out of town to attend WPPI in Las Vegas, Nevada. What is a commercial photographer doing at a wedding and portrait convention and trade show? Well I have to admit that WPPI convention and educational resources don’t do much for me because it’s not designed to address my needs as a commercial photographer. But I do have a lot of fun hanging out with 10,000 other photographers and partying. The main reason I attend is the trade show. It’s great to see all of the latest and greatest gear, software and lighting equipment. I get to visit with the people who actually design my favorite software and products. I do have to be careful to not get too enthusiastic about the new products because lots of things are cool but don’t really add value to my business.

I attended several marketing classes and a drone class, while my daughter who is a boudoir photographer attended classes on posing, lighting and boudoir.  I try to bring someone new each year to help them expand their horizons and take advantage of this wonderful educational resource. Usually I bring one of my assistants or an intern. This year I brought a local gal who’s work I’ve been watching. She has oodles of creativity but I could see she needs to work on her technical skills. It was a lot of fun introducing her to WPPI. I wish she could have attended more more classes but I think by the time she left she had absorbed as much as she could in this short of a time.

If you are wanting to improve your portrait or wedding photography check out WPPI.

Resting my feet after a long day at the trade show in Las Vegas

Nikon d5 camera – deconstructed


Nikon Pro services gave free camera cleanings to NPS members. They also spoiled us with food & drinks when we dropped our cameras off , which was nice because a plain old bottled water was $4 at the convention center!

Beauty is in the the little details….

I got a lot of weird looks taking this photo in a busy parking lot… but it’s worth it.

In my crazy, busy life it’s so easy to forget to stop and pay attention to the little details in life that make me happy. Here I had just finished with a client meeting and was in a hurry to make it to the St.George Chamber of Commerce lunch, I glanced at these little ant hills and went on by. After I got in my vehicle and was heading out of the parking lot, I stopped and hopped out to grab a quick shot. I reminded myself that I want to be intentional with how I observe the world and let my creative side have its chance even when I’m in a hurry. I need to slow down and enjoy each moment!

Looking for set, food & wardrobe stylists for commercial photography projects in southern Utah

I’ve had a hard time finding set stylists, wardrobe stylists and food stylists in southern Utah. If you know any who does high quality, detailed styling in our area, PLEASE send me their contact info! I have had to get people from Salt Lake City and Las Vegas to do my projects. It adds a lot to the overhead of producing a shoot, I’d rather use locals if I can. So do me a favor and be on the look out for people that would like styling work.

Day 4 of our California coast road trip

It was a downpour when I woke up. I couldn’t sleep in so I made coffee and watched the morning news until daylight. I decided to get ready before everyone else was up. Just as I finished the sun came out! It was beautiful! My daughter and I decided to walk a block south to a little bakery I’d seen in some of the travel blogs. The “Cinderella Bakery” is a german bakery. The shop was quaint and the food was amazing! I wanted to try one of everything. Kira chose one thing and I chose another so we could share. We ate on the patio (on the street). It was so relaxing, just sitting back and people watching. THIS was the real SanFrancisco! A real neighborhood…people going about their everyday lives…not some tourist attraction. My favorite things we did in San Francisco ended up being in the local neighborhood, the small local businesses, mom & pop owned places, that were “real”. I am so glad we stayed at a AirBnB! It was a totally different experience than we would have had in a hotel!


On our way north we stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge to get the typical tourist photos. The sun was shining and the fog lifted just enough to see the bridge, but it was short lived …by the time we drove around to the lighthouse point to view it from there the fog had rolled back in and we couldn’t see much.


We drove north to Muir woods and walked one of the main trails. It was beautiful, so green and moist, definitely a shock for us kids from the desert. From there we drove to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. We got there 10 minutes after it closed!!! We didn’t know it closed at 4:30! So darn frustrating…it was a long drive for nothing! We couldn’t even see the lighthouse through the fog!


We drove on up the coast and east to Ukiah for dinner, then drove another 20 minutes to the AirBnB we rented in Potter Valley. It was late when we got there so we couldn’t really see the surrounding area. The house was clean and nicely furnished. It was odd that there were no curtains or blinds on the windows, it kind of felt like we were in a fish bowl! We tried to figure out how to hang something up on our bedroom windows but couldn’t find anything so we decided we’d figure it out in the morning.

How to hire an architectural photographer

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Ask Carole… Bathroom selfie tips

Okay I’ve had people ask me how to take better selfies… Truthfully, get out of the bathroom!!!! If you must do bathroom selfies then remember these tips.

1. Watch the background! No toilets, tubs or shower curtains. Remove distracting elements. Also be careful about pictures or wall decorations. You don’t want a picture frame or wall decor sticking out of your head.

2. Be careful about light sources. Daylight and interior lighting don’t mix well. You will end up with color balance problems. So either block the daylight or turn off the interior lighting and use only natural light.

3. Hold your camera as far away from you as you can. Phone lenses are wide angle lenses…they distort things closer to the camera. You can end up with a big nose, chin or forehead depending on whats closest to the camera. It’s better to zoom in or crop afterward if you need a closer view.

Selfie taken with my iPhone

 

 

Creative planning ideas….

Almost everyone I know celebrates Thanksgiving in some way. After all of the food and friends and family, I find it’s a good time to reflect on the blessings I have in my life. November and December are slower times in my business which is stressful financially but its also a great time for recharging and planning for the year ahead of me. Setting goals is important…but planning to make them actually come to fruition is the hard part! I work on my personal goals, my business goals and the group goals we set as a family. As a single mom, just figuring out my work schedule and making things work with my children’s schedules can be daunting. I am a list maker…which doesn’t really integrate well with today’s digital technology. I love to doodle and scribble all of my ideas on paper but organizing them and making them accessible can be a challenge. Does anyone have any apps or technology to share with me on how to better handle this? Please comment if you do! I would really appreciate the help!

ipad LWS port

 

It’s Summer…. Enjoy the simple things

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in so many activities during summer time that we forget to slow down and enjoy it. There’s a reason they call it “the lazy days of summer”, but you wouldn’t know it by most parent’s summer schedules. This summer as a break for mom (me), we have been taking turns making meals. To make things interesting we’ve been trying at least one new recipe a week. It’s so easy to be stuck in a rut when it comes to meals, especially when you are on a budget. This has become one of our new family favorites: BBQ Grilled Pizza!

  

It may not be pretty…but it’s delicious!

It’s so easy! All you have to do is plan ahead. These pizzas are very inexpensive if you make your own dough. About one and a half hours before you’d like to eat, mix up a batch of pizza dough and leave it to rise. (Recipe follows.) When you are about ready to eat…punch down the dough and heat up the grill. Separate dough into 4 equal pieces and have each person roll out their own. 

The key to making it great it how you cook it. When you heat up your grill, half of the grill will need to be set on medium to high heat and the other half set to low. Oil the hotter side of the grill with a little bit of olive oil. Then put your pizza dough on that side. Watch it carefully and just when the bottom is starting to turn golden turn it over and put it on the cooler side of the grill. Now is when you put on the toppings. Next you close the grill for a couple of minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese without burning the bottom of the pizza. Finally, remove pizza and enjoy while it’s still hot.

 You can use whatever you want for toppings. My favorite is a simple garlic marinara sauce with fresh basil leaves and fresh mozzarella pieces. My daughter, Summer likes one with BBQ sauce, leftover grilled chicken, fresh basil and shredded jack & cheddar cheese. The combinations are endless. You can just use whatever leftovers you have on hand; pre cooked meats, lunchmeats, sliced veggies, etc. We’ve even tried dessert pizzas… Sliced fresh peaches with cinnamon & sugar. Or caramel sauce with apples, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with sea salt. I think they are great sweet or savory. Let everyone get creative and make their own masterpieces.  Please share what you come up with! We’d love to hear your ideas!

 

iPhone pic of my daughter’s masterpiece 
Grilled pizza dough recipe: 

Ingredients

  1 teaspoon sugar 

  1 packet active dry yeast 

  2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing 

  1 teaspoon salt

  2 1/4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface 

  1 cup warm water 

Directions

1. Pour 1 cup warm water into a medium bowl; add sugar and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.

2. Stir oil into yeast mixture. 

3. In a standing mixer with dough hook attachment, add flour and salt. Add yeast mixture and mix on low until liquid is incorporated (dough will appear dry). Knead on low setting, until dough comes together in an elastic ball, 2 minutes. Transfer to an oiled medium bowl; brush lightly with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; set in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in bulk, 30-45 minutes. Punch down dough and cover; let rise another 20 minutes.

Roll out using extra flour. Lightly oil dough and take it to the grill 🙂

  

  

Nothing is ever perfect….

I was talking to my daughter today . She was having a rough time because she had planned a fishing trip with her husband and little boys this past weekend and nothing went as planned. She was wondering if she’s ever going to have a good time “like we did when she was little”. I found myself repeating what my grandma had told me a long time ago.

In my teens, my grandma told me “Nothing is ever perfect, so make the best of what you’ve got”. As an all knowing 16 yr old, I rolled my eyes and thought I’d prove her wrong some day. My life, my career, my husband, my kids… It was all going to be perfect.

Years later I know she’s right. I’ve only had one moment in my life when I looked around myself and truly thought “this is perfect“. What’s ironic is that at the time I had absolutely no control of the situation. (I am kind of a control freak, I like to plan every little detail.) I had been hiking since before day break, had spent a couple of hours photographing the Subway, which I’d been dreaming about since I was a kid. I was tired, hungry and trying to stave off a headache. I was feeling old…It doesn’t help that I was about 20+ years older than everyone on the hike and not in great shape. My son had hiked back to prod me up the trail faster. Then I walk around the bend to see this:


Our friends on the hike had prepared a surprise for us! Three of them had hiked in early hauling over 200 lbs of equipment… Plus a full size picnic table! The table was next to the stream and a small waterfall. It was set with cloth tablecloths, cloth napkins, candles and glass dishes. It was amazing! Like a mirage …I couldn’t believe it was real. A complete sushi dinner!

When we sat down to eat we just looked at each other…everyone grinning from ear to ear… This moment was epic…I knew I would never experience anything like this again in my life. There was a quiet connection ..a unity…a shared feeling of complete gratitude. No one spoke a word, but we all felt it. Gratitude for each other, for the moment we were living in, for where we were and who we were. Senses were heightened, a clarity, a feeling of peace.  I’ve never felt this before.

The silence was broken with a bout of laughter.  For some it was the surprise, for others it was anticipation of seeing the surprised faces of their friends. There was relief and triumph of pulling this off without us finding out. The amazement, how could they have possibly carried all of this stuff this far down a trail that I could barely navigate with a 10 lb pack?

We had a delicious sushi dinner.  The hikers coming by all wanted to know what the special occasion was? Proposal? Anniversary? It had to be something big! It was actually my daughter’s birthday and the birthday of one of the guys who hauled it all in ….but it was just meant to be a surprise for friends, and it was.

So how was grandma right?

NO-THING is perfect. (Moments, however fleeting…are!)

To others it might not have been viewed as perfect. If we thought about the 2+ mile hike – uphill – that we’d be carrying all of this stuff out (which ended up in the dark) it might have dampened the mood. It could be considered less than ideal, but our group was determined to continue the evening as EPIC! And it was … We hiked out in the dark. We didn’t have enough flashlights so we had the little tea candles from the table. It was slow going, lots of tripping and falling in the water and on obstacles on the trail. There was music (until our batteries died), singing and laughing and working together to get all of that stuff and each other up the hill.  When it was all said and done… Bruises, cactus, sore muscles and all, I wouldn’t change a thing! The circumstances were not “perfect” but the EXPERIENCE was!  (I still have the candle by my desk now as a reminder of that special day.)

“Make the best of what you’ve got.”

  
  I am :

Grateful for the good people who consider me a friend.

Amazed at what friends will do for each other.

Stunned that people are so generous.

Blessed to live in such a beautiful area.

Happy to be able to follow my dreams.
***special thanks to Johnny at Sakura for loaning the plates, serving dishes and napkins from his restaurant, and for preparing an amazing feast for us!