Shoutout to my dawg October

There are only six days of October left, people! The last day is Halloween and then the day after Halloween, we’re in this, “Now what?” kind of mode. “Now what” being November.

I have posted before about one of my favorite months, that being the month of May. It’s not just my birth month but has some of the best weather (depending where you are in the country) and is, overall, a happy sunshiney type month.

In the aforementioned post I just referenced, I mention that it’s one of my two favorite months. However, I misspoke. I actually have three. Originally I was only referring to May and December (because I do love me some Christmas and the start of winter) but I was completely and totally overlooking October. My humblest apologies to October because I absolutely love it.

Zoe Says her reasons for applauding October:

  1. It’s the tenth month of the year. As a gal with a 5-5 birthday and lover of symmetry and all numbers being multipliers of five, its place in the calendar year is tops. 5+5=10? We get October!
  2. It’s full-on AUTUMN (okay and usually Indian Summer, too). It’s when the weather finally turns from summer to cool, crisper days. The leaves turn stunning, brilliant colors of yellow, orange, and red. They flutter to the ground in a lilting dance, aided by Mother Nature’s breezes.
  3. The leaves on the ground turn crisp and make a lovely crunching noise when you walk through them.
  4. As the weather gets chillier, especially at night, the smell of woodsmoke permeates the air, whether it’s from people conducting weenie and marshmallow roasts, folks staying warm by their fireplaces, or groups of people having a good old-fashioned bonfire.
  5. One word: hoodies.
  6. Pumpkin comes back with a vengeance and we begin consuming it fervently. It’s in our drinks, it’s in our desserts,  there’s something called pumpkin butter, we toast the seeds, we carve them for fun.
  7. Orange is really in.
  8. Halloween. Candy. Trick-or-treaters. Decorations. Ghosts. You get the idea.
  9. Apple orchards are prime for picking fresh apples, which will also become many desserts from now through December.
  10. Hay rides, scary or non.
  11. Beaucoup de autumn photos! Seriously, Tumblr this month has been crazy with posting all these glorious fall pictures. Guilty!
  12. Last but not least: another month with TONS of birthdays, including my brother’s! I’m in May, he’s in October – it’s pretty fantastic.

And because I have absolutely been taking tons of pictures of anything related to autumn this month, I am posting a handful of my favorites for your viewing pleasure. I hope October has been as enjoyable for you as it has been for me! Make these last six days count.

Last of the blooms

At the end of the path

Dappled leaves

Leaves on bokeh

Serene autumn landscape

But I’m all…this is hard!

Before I get to the meat of this post, does anyone remember the scene from Will & Grace when Jennifer Elise Cox plays the valley girl nurse who freaks Grace out? I can’t tell you how many times I have recited the “This is hard!” line over the years (that’s what she said).

Note: I used to have a YouTube clip here that showed it but NBC had to yank it because it’s copyrighted and we’re not allowed to enjoy watching that scene for free.

It rarely gets any better than that, though Modern Family and Parks and Rec could probably creep up on that level of brilliance.

Anywhoosits, I don’t know about you fine folks but I have had a doozy of a week. Thankfully, it’s gone from worse to better as the week has progressed. Better than starting a week off great and heading into the weekend feeling sucky because…well, it just sucks. And hey, the final Harry Potter movie is out, so at the very least we have some decent cinema to see, right?

So as some of you may know, I started up a side photography business not too long ago. I’m a few months into portfolio building and have a couple of sessions under my belt, plus 4,000 other photos I have taken and edited on my own with an ever increasing critical eye. I am working diligently each and every day to get this kite (if I may liken my business to a kite) off the ground. But I’m all, this is hard! I’m a pretty patient person by nature, except I tend to equate hard work with results, which means that when I have put my blood, sweat and tears into something for a certain amount of time, I expect to reap the reward. If I were pursuing photography merely as a hobby, then I’d definitely be well into my apprenticeship, if you will, and I’d have no pressure on my shoulders to step out of my comfort zone and interact with <gulp> strangers.

However, since I am bound and determined to see this thing through for the long haul, I know I have to bide my time and put in the effort each and every day before the results will start trickling in. I don’t know a thing about running my own business but I guess any successful proprietor starts off that way. I’m learning a special skill (a trade?) and learning how to manage it all so that I may actually have, you know, a livelihood outside of my office career.

I’m not completely new to the whole side business venture, however. I tried Mary Kay out for a year and my two cents is if they changed their business model in just a handful of key areas, I think they could be way more successful than they have been the last fifty. That’s not to say that the original Mary Kay didn’t bust her tail but the corporate sales giant does not encourage making an honest living anymore. The products for the most part are pretty decent, although some can be vastly overpriced. However, because their business model is a multi-level marketing scheme, it’s not about the product at all but the member recruitment.

The profit margin is rather slim if you just want to hock product, unfortunately, which is all I ever wanted to do. After a year of trying to make it work, I turned in my faint hopes of remaining an Independent Beauty Consultant. If any of you fair readers out there have thought about entering into Mary Kay or want to do some serious research on the matter, check out Pink Truth. I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to discourage anyone who has actually found a way to make Mary Kay work for him or herself. This was just my personal experience, obviously.

In this recession we find ourselves in, business ventures and start-ups seem to be the hottest ticket right now. I know more than just a couple of friends who are working to make their side hobbies turn into full-time enterprises. Photographers, bloggers, bakers, candlestick makers, decorators, designers, Etsy store owners, you name it. It would be wonderful if we could all see our dreams through to fruition. I certainly hope to be one of them.

Shameless plug: and if anyone out there would like a photo session courtesy of yours truly….here’s where you can find me.

And into the weekend we go!

Update: I had to shutter ZV Image Creations in 2014 but I keep my portfolio on Flickr, as linked above.

Exciting announcement!

I believe I have one or two people who follow me here because I post stuff about photography once in a blue moon. Not to say that that will stop happening altogether BUT…

I have officially started up a separate photography website!! I dubbed it ZV Image Creations. Over there, I will be writing posts strictly related to all things photography, including but not limited to editing, techniques, or even other photographers/vendors. I am ecstatic about this because not only am I making all the decisions about how to customize the site, which tickles me, but I can legitimately build a side business, which has been something I’ve been working towards for quite some time now.

The bones of the site are up and I will continually be tweaking a few things here and there but for right now, ZV Image Creations version 1.0 is up! (ZVIC also looks kinda cool….but I’m biased.)

Eventually there will be an e-commerce section (galleries/shopping cart/prints) but that is a work in progress as I continue to build my portfolio.

And if any one of you fine readers happens to be a photography enthusiast or a professional, please feel free to contact me with any constructive feedback.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here chair dancing (mostly because I’m excited but also because Lady Gaga’s new album is badass).

Makeup Porn

I didn’t really know what else to call it when a woman takes photographs of her makeup that looks good just sitting there, even when she’s not wearing it.

Since I am striving to kick this photography thing up a notch or two, I just decided to grab a few things that I love, place them in relatively good light and work the Manual setting on my camera. I also happened to have a nice glossy piece of white paper sitting around so I threw the stuff on there and started clicking.

Specifically, this color of lipstick called “Wannabe” that Lancome sent with my gift with purchase is out of this world. It’s very hot pink and very me.

Won’t you ooh and ahh with me?

This was excellent practice for me and I loved the final outcomes, especially of the lipstick photos. The white paper + editing in PSE really did the trick to get a more professional look.

Happy (Easter) weekend!

Lipstick and Brush


Frame play

Rita from CoffeeShop Blog posted some of her latest frame creations and I decided to play around with them to see what the cat would lick up. (Does anybody know of this expression besides me and my friend, from whom I got that phrase?)

Since I have been on a floral photography kick lately, two of the frames were perfect for a couple of my latest edits.

I’m just having a lot of fun exploring with Photoshop Elements and building layer upon layer of knowledge (a bad pun). Though PSE is a baby sister to big old Photoshop/CS, it has lots of features and capabilities and there are some who argue that it is all you will ever need.

Happy Sunday, y’all. Back to editing!

All in the Details

As I get more and more into photography, I am finding so many ways to network with other photographers/bloggers (photograbloggers?).

It’s tough not to go into information overload, what with Facebook updates, Twitter throwing link after link after link at you, and your RSS reader filling up each day.

However, it was tough to ignore this sweet photography contest over at Love That Shot. This Link-Up contest’s theme is “All in the Details” and I thought my Glossy Coffee Beans photo might be a good fit.


Glossy Coffee Beans

If you’re interested in winning a $100 gift certificate over at MCP or just want to share a photo with other photographers, you can head on over there and do so. The contest doesn’t end for five more days or so.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Nature Walk

I work in a corner of town that is relatively newly developed. There is a large residential development behind our office building and there is easy footpath access. They wind all over the place and there are man-made ponds, bridges, etc. I took advantage of some lovely weather we had the other day and took my camera out with me on part of my lunch break.

I shot over 100 photos but I have only tweaked six thus far. I can get really caught up in the nuances of photo editing.

To find out the “stories” behind each one, including actions I may have used, you can go to my Flickr account where they’re all located (also displayed in the sidebar). Otherwise, I will just post them here and let you ponder and enjoy what you will about them.

Extraordinary-ness Du Jour (A Photography Post)

What I am discovering about taking up photography, even on an amateur basis, is that it takes what we consider everyday, ordinary things or occurrences, and transforms them into visual pieces that we can ogle for…well, ever. I know, this doesn’t seem like news. But when you’re the person taking the photos, you realize just how much there is to consider when sizing up your shot. Why one photo strikes a person on a deeper level over another is purely subjective; I think that’s really what the magic of this process is. (Apparently this also goes for commercials. See my recent post about that weird VW/Darth Vader ad.)

As a Film Studies major, I took all the theory classes and dissected Film As Art, and I know how to pick apart a film down to the nth degree. And I still love doing that.

Now, as a budding digital photographer, I am learning about what it takes to capture a great shot and all the technical stuff that goes along with it. I will say that if I didn’t have a strong affinity for the visual arts, I don’t know that I would be so passionate about taking out my camera every chance I get and snapping photos in hopes to get something really good. I’m surprising myself at which pictures turn out to be the best.

It took more dedication for me to get to the point where I am writing something on here at least once a week. With photography, I am finding that I don’t need to give myself a pep talk. I get excited to pick up the camera and see what the cat licks up, so to speak. (Ha, sorry, that is such a random phrase that a dear friend of mine says.) I’m discovering that I wish I had more time to go and find settings, people, places, and things to photograph. I now know why on some level it’s easier to do a food blog because everything one will photograph will be produced in one’s own home. I have loved taking photos of food and I am really enjoying that macro or “XCU” type of photography. (XCU is a film term for extreme close-up.)

But I want to get out there and explore. I find there is something really magical about capturing a landscape. Changing up the angle and filling the frame differently are also interesting challenges. And then there’s photo editing, a universe unto itself. I love editing as much as I love taking the photo. It feels good to have found a niche that I might actually be good at. Perseverance is the only way I’ll find out.

If you’ve made it through my photography manifesto, is it were, then please enjoy some of the recent photos I have snapped and edited. Any feedback is, of course, welcome.

This evening I take my first course in Photoshop Elements with my latest favorite photography blogger, Amanda Padgett of Everyday Elements. If you have any inkling whatsoever to pick up a camera, start with her. I’m so excited to be on this journey!