March 17, 2012

March 14, 2012

Witch Hazel is a Delightful Border

Here are two examples of Witch Hazel from my neighborhood. One family has left theirs to grow free form, the other hedge has been trimmed in a shape. As you can see, the bush does well under both circumstances, but has a completely different look.

This shrub is easy to grow in most climates and blooms twice a year in Georgia. The spider like flowers are a reddish-pink or yellow.

March 13, 2012

Keywords are Key to your Website Ranking

So, what are your keywords on your website? Here's how to find out. Open your website in Internet Explorer. Click on the Page down arrow on the right side of the screen. At the very bottom is a "View Source" choice. Click that.

Do you see my keywords there in red? Now go try it with your website. And, go look at your competition's keywords when you are in a marketing mood. By the way, if you don't have any, I would call your web designer and ask for your money back. Or call me to add your keywords.

March 08, 2012

Studying the Subject - Peach Trees

I have found some really beautiful flowering peach trees on Peachtree Road in Atlanta. The trees are new to me and intriquing. Their color is amazing; the petals are hot coral, white and pink mixed and a white. So I have visited these trees three days in a row to capture their essence.

By doing that, I have discovered what shots I want and what time is best to take them. Each day I have studied my pictures from the day before deciding what I like and what works and doesn't work. By returning multiple times, I am improving the final photographs. I am not leaving as much up to chance and getting that "lucky" shot. Here are a few of my photographs.

March 05, 2012

Focus

A good word -- focus. Focus on what you want. Focus on where you are going. Focus on how you will get there. And, then there is the ever important piece of -- What is in focus in my photograph?

One of my "secrets" is that I manually refocus every single shot before I press the shutter. I use a very narrow depth of field, so focus is critical. I can easily photograph two flowers right next to each other and one be out of focus. Part of my job is finding flowers far enough apart to pull this off or rearranging so that they are both right in the focused area.
But, lately, I have been leaning towards leaving the photograph out of focus. What do you think?

February 27, 2012

Magnolia Frost

I read a post yesterday on Momastery blog. She's kindly explaining that she is more spiritual, now, so she's including that in her blog posts. This woman has a nice style. Go read.

She could have written:
Go read someone else's blog.
Or, go write your own.

But she is kind.

Today I am sad. My favorite thing is photographing the magnolias. And, the frost has gotten them twice this year. I've waited a whole year to visit these beautiful trees in Atlanta and Marietta. But I am in the mood and have been out photographing. You can see some magnolias I salvaged on facebook.

How could God destroy what he took years to create? Or maybe we are destroying the magnolias.

February 20, 2012

My son asks, "Why would we want to watch a movie about kids killing each other?" about The Hunger Games upcoming release

I said "I'm not sure. But maybe we will know as we finish listening to the book." But perhaps the answer is...

The Hunger Games is, in its simplest, a story about adults making children "hurt" each other, so indirectly the adults hurt the children. And, there are true stories of this atrocity. But perhaps, in a smaller way we stifle their curiosity, ruin their plans, don't allow them to watch R movies, say no to staying out late, control their lives... still in 2012.

So in some ways the book, Hunger Games, is their life.

Here's an interesting read from the New Yorker about dystopian fiction for young adults (shared by my child's English teacher) http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2010/06/14/100614crat_atlarge_miller?fb_ref=social_fblike&fb_source=timeline Take a look if you are writing and/or a parent.

February 18, 2012

What to do with QR Codes

In designing the brochure for my photography class, I wanted people to go to the link to sign up. It's a long path etc, so a QR Code seemed appropriate. Here is the brochure for the next class.

The QR code is in the bottom right of this brochure. Scan the QR code to find the web address about this class. This is the first application I have found for the codes. A QR code can contain an email address, website URL, a phone number or other information.

Another obvious use would be to include a QR code for my website address on my "About the Artist" that I have hanging on the wall at art festivals. There technical savy folks will pull up the site, book mark it, and remember me.

Where will you put the your codes? I created the code using http://www.qrstuff.com/. You need to download the software for your phone to scan the code. 

P.S. If you live near Watson Mill Bridge Park (Athens, Georgia), please print the brochure and take it to a coffee shop to hang.  Let me know you did it and I'll send you a thank you! The pdf is here. To view the web page about my photography classes, click here.

February 01, 2012

War Horse is a Photography Must See

War horse is a riveting film. Each shot could be a photograph in itself. The countryside is amazing. The movie is filmed in Dartmoor in Devon, England. The area is protected by National Park status. The filming was planned for additional locations, but the beauty of the place altered these plans. The movie is set during World War I. It is based on a book by Michael Morpurgo. The movie has been nominated for 6 Academy Awards.

A play partially adapted from the book is currently playing on Broadway. The play is now on an open-ended run and received 5 Tony awards including best play.

The story begins with a young boy, Albert, watching a colt grow in the fields. His father purchases the horse, which begins the plot. The weaving story and delightful climax teach about perseverance, love of animals and collaboration even with enemies.

The play and film bring to light the disturbing fact that over 9,586,000 horses were victims of WWI.

January 08, 2012

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

So, I am working on a Mac for the first time learning about app development. (This doesn't mean I have bought a mac.) But I am very used to a couple of keys on my personal computer, so I thought I would share my findings.

The [delete] key on the Mac functions like the PC [backspace] key. To use it in reverse, press the [command] [delete] buttons together.

The [End] key is also missing. The arrow keys on the Mac serve home, end and tabbing functions.
 Press [option] [arrow key] to tab through your words. Press [command] [arrow] to move to end or beginning.

December 31, 2011

Quick Trip's Competitive Advantage


Alabama River from the Edmund Pettus Bridge
Every morning I drink several diet cokes to get the day going. I never drank coffee because I was happy with a morning coke, so I didn't need to acquire a taste for coffee. I like my diet coke in a can very cold. From time to time I am out at home. Over the years I have tried different things to make a "hot" diet coke cold. The freezer for 20 minutes works okay.
But recently, I discovered that QT (Quick Trip) gas stations have cold 12 packs of diet coke. The other day when I purchased four with their buy 3 get 1 free promotion I told the clerk that they only had one more cold. He said, "Everything you see is stored in the back in a refrigerator. So there is always another cold drink." I have thought about this a lot. What all is in that store?

Now I have two reasons to go to QT. They usually have the best price for gas and I know they have a cold diet coke waiting for me.

What is your competitive advantage?

December 18, 2011

Tradition -- What Are Yours?

One of my favorite musicals is Fiddler on the Roof. It all looked like such fun to me as a child. I thought of the song "Tradition" as I wrote the word above because Tevye says it with such conviction. We need that!

Now, I am working really hard on our family traditions.  In part because I believe children grow up way too fast these days. It's important as our Montessori teacher preached, "To let them have their childhood."
Along these lines, we made both cranberry bread and banana bread for Thanksgiving. Yesterday I made Peppermint bark. It's delicious candy and enjoyable and fast to make. It's one of the few sweets we can really eat out of the bowl before it's ready because there aren't any eggs in it. So, some of our family traditions are around foods and cooking together. What are yours?

Peppermint Bark
Line a 13" x 9" pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Crush 1/2 C of peppermint candy canes.
Melt 11 oz of white chocolate chips in the microwave 30 seconds at a time stirring in between. Stir in the peppermint. Spread in a thin layer in the pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes until set. Break into pieces and store in the refrigerator in a large bag.

December 17, 2011

It's a Great Time to Photograph Christmas Lights

One of the best times of day to photograph lights is just as the sun is setting. You will capture the beautiful light from the day and be able to see the twinkling lights from the Christmas decorations.

Here is a photograph of the East Cobb Park's Christmas Tree. Another neat place to view Christmas lights is Southern Poly Tech in Marietta, Georgia. I will try to make it there for photographs.

H A P P Y  H O L I D A Y S !

December 07, 2011

I Saw a Kingfisher Today

Little events can bring lots of hope and inspiration. But I was ready. The bird looked somewhat like a blue jay but different. It was alone hunting on the river. I decided it was a kingfisher. And, for once, the dog was waiting for me instead of me waiting for the dog.


Kingfisher I captured in DeLand, Florida in 2010
 Kingfishers have a large territory they claim as their own. Many miles in fact. They are much less common than blue jays and blue birds. So, the sighting made me think. What can I do that is special? Unusual? Before the bird... I am thinking about new products. A conversation I started after the Atlanta Celebrates Photography Portfolio review in October. Now I am also researching one idea on Etsy for existing products and possible competition. When you search on Etsy for flower photographs there are 17,000 items. There are 4,053 floral photographs. But if you search for flower photography there are 69,049. Lots of competition. A search with just photography yields 406,442 images. I'd rather be the kingfisher.

What are you thinking about doing? And where are you researching the competition?

I have a learning curve on my new product. Once I solve that I will be ready to share. Meanwhile, my anticipated release date is in January 2012. You'll find out here and on Facebook all about my new art. So, go ahead and subscribe. Here's to us being kingfishers!

November 22, 2011

Camellia

Today, I will share a little about me. Here are photographs of a pink camellia bush. Yes, I do always drive and walk around looking for flowers. No, I don't carry my camera with me all the time. I find I have to be in the mood. Plus usually, if it's worth photographing (for me) it's worth driving back to. I can tell you where a lot of pretty flowers live.

Since, I didn't study flowers in college, I am learning hands on and really marvel when I discover something new. I remember specifically the first time I saw a camellia tree blooming. It was at the children's dentist. You know that shocked feeling... that's what I sense when I find a new flower or discover something I didn't know about flowers. I usually photograph a flower during its peak. Each time I have ideas about what I want from the picture and may wait a whole year for the right shot.

I discovered what may be a camellia (no flowers, yet) growing in my yard today and cleared out the ivy from nearby. Happy Thanksgiving!


November 17, 2011

Use Photoshop's Guides

It seems like I am always needing guides in Photoshop, so I thought I would share a project completed with guides. I am introducing calendars this week. I used the guides to align my objects. Click and drag in the ruler area and pull a guide down onto the project or to the right into the work space.  Guides are turquoise lines. Remove guides by dragging them back to the ruler. Above I bring in the dates and boxes and align them to the blue lines.
My monthly calendar Southern Belles 2012 is officially produced and sold too! Printing more now. And I have a yearly version too. Here is 2012 Pink Wall Calendar.

 

November 15, 2011

Crepe Myrtles are Pretty Addition to a Garden for Fall Color

Crepe Myrtle Adds Fall Color
Marietta is filled with pretty crepe myrtle trees this Fall. The flowers decorate for many weeks during the summer and just now displayed vibrant leaves. The best time to plant crepe myrtle trees is in the winter... so add one or two to your yard soon.
New Crepe Myrtle

But be careful if one pops up in the middle of your yard. Dig it up, if you don't want it there before it establishes roots. The plant is considered invasive by some. Here someone has decided to let a crepe myrtle planted by nature take off. They are fast growing trees. 


November 12, 2011

Nature Undisturbed Photo Contest Deadline is Dec. 17

Nature Undisturbed is a Georgia nature photography contest. There are several Georgia sites and an open category for the contest. In preparation, I visited Line Creek in Peachtree City yesterday. Here are some of my images. Entries are due Dec. 17. Learn more here.


The juried show is a fun opening on March 17 at the Dogwood Gallery in Tyrone. Make plans to attend.

November 10, 2011

CMAs, Music and Art

The Country Music Awards event brings together an amazing collection of professionals to celebrate their music. More and more as I listen to country music I think about about each song as a product. Each single is carefully designed to make a point and take the listener somewhere special.

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood's "Remind Me" is a great example of a song that takes you to the early days of a relationship. The song makes a picture without a camera.

But there is a lesson in their lyrics, notes, and presentation. Each single has a life of its own and affects people. The goal here is to do the same with each photograph.

November 09, 2011

Lantana makes a pretty Fall garden!

Lantana is an easy to grow plant, which attacts butterflies all summer long. Here are photographs from Chastain Park in Atlanta, which I have taken recently. So you can see it is still going strong in the Fall. The park system planted a pretty yellow colored version next to deep wine plants, which really stands out.

The pink lantana in my yard grows by leaps and bounds all summer even in the sweltering Georgia heat. It retains water, so it doesn't need my attention. The only draw back to lantana is that it spreads... so give it plenty of room in the beginning. It is not meant for the mailbox area.

Add this plant to your list for planting next spring. Click here for the Chastain Park map. The park is part of the PATH foundation in Atlanta. I shot these images in front of the Chastain Arts Center.

October 31, 2011

Chip Simone Exhibits at High Museum

Atlanta Photographer, Chip Simone spoke on October 20 at the High Museum in conjunction with Atlanta Celebrates Photography. His exhibit The Resonant Image is on view until Nov. 6, 2011. Take a tour and you may find Chip in the galleries. He told the ACP crowd he has been visiting the galleries a couple times a week, so he could "talk to people who have never gotten to meet an artist."


This show is all about color. During the presentation Brett Abbot, curator of photography at the High, mentions the emotional power of color, which is something to think about as an artist. Here is another image from the show.

Chip studied under Harry Callahan at the Rhode Island School of Design. The artist explained that Harry's style was to get students to "become their own teacher by studying their own work." Chip Simone does this at the Atlanta Photography Group. He usually leads the monthly critiques there. The next critique is Nov. 2 at 7:30 PM and the subsquent first Wed. of the month.

October 27, 2011

American Hydrangea Society Meets in Atlanta

Founded by Penny McHenry in 1994 the American Hydrangea Society has become a place to enhance your knowledge about hydrangea through garden tours and lectures. This week Jamie Blackburn, Curator of the Woodland Gardens at the Atlanta Botanical Garden spoke to the group. He provided a clear picture of where the ABG is with hydrangea and where the garden is headed. His presentation was polished.

There is a section of the ABG in honor of Penny McHenry. There are also plans in the expansion of the gardens for more hydrangea, which have already been planted. Blackburn's long term goal is to apply to American Public Gardens Association to recognize the hydrangea collection in Atlanta.

Here is a list of named collections by the APGA:  http://www.publicgardens.org/content/napcc-collections-institution. This is quite a resource if you are particularly interested in a plant. To-date Blackburn believes the ABG has 13-14 species and 350 taxa of hydgranea. Currently the ABG is recognized for its maples and pitcher plant collections. Presently the only hydangea garden recognized is the Norfolk Botanical Garden with 190 taxa.

At the end of this meeting many hydrangea and other plants were raffled off.  Here is one of my images taken on this year's American Hydrangea Society Tour. This image was juried into the Women In Focus annual show by Brett Abbot. Available on Etsy.

Twist N Shout


October 24, 2011

Footloose is Better than the Original

I remember thinking "Oh, no!" when I heard they remade Footloose. I loved Kevin Bacon's dance scenes and the message to stand up for what you believe in of the original movie.

But the new show is better because it is updated and the messages are clearer. There were many scenes that could stand on their own as award winning photographs. Take a look at the show as set up photographs.

Kenny Wormald stars in this version as Ren McCormack. He can dance! And, he delivers the message the you can say no to pot. And, he also politely refuses Ariel's (Julianne Hough) request for a kiss. The children have fun in this show just by dancing. I saw the movie with my teenagers and was delighted to hear the respect around sex and watch the pot being flushed.

Afterwards, we started watching the original movie on VHS and the lines seemed to be exactly the same in both movies. The Volkswagon beetle was there too. But there were nice additions to the film as well. In the new show, Kevin has to rebuild the VW.
It is a great time to remake this dancing classic with the popularity of "Dancing with the Stars." Maybe Saturday Night Fever or Dirty Dancing will be next...

October 22, 2011

Ashe Simpson Garden Center in Atlanta has Your Camellia

What a garden find.... Gorgeous Camellias are ready for planting and blooming in your yard at Ashe Simpson Garden Center on Peachtree Industrial Parkway just north of the Brookhaven MARTA Station in Atlanta.

Owner, Carole Ashe-Simpson is considered a specialist in camellias. So, now is the time to head on over and ask Carole your questions and add to your garden. Camellias are beginning to bloom all around Atlanta. Here are a few images from the nursery.



And, if you don't feel like planting yourself, they will do it for you. Carole is a renown landscaper.

Ashe Simpson Garden Center
4961 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Atlanta, Georgia 30341
(770) 458-3224

October 19, 2011

Georgia State Parks on YouTube

As part of my current photography show at REI Perimeter in Atlanta at 1165 Perimeter Center W Ste. 200, I presented photographs from 19 parks in a lecture last night. Today I added many of my images from the store and created this video set to Jason Aldean's "Days Like These."  The show is on view until December 4th.


Take a look! And, let me know what your favorite Georgia State Park is! The audience asked about my favorite. (I have visited 20.) And I said, "It is Cloudland Canyon because it is has lots to explore and it is right near the Lookout Mountain Scenic Highway."

One of the big take-aways from my talk is to ride up 985 when you are heading out of Georgia in that direction, if you can. And, if you are traveling west, try heading towards the Lookout Mountain Scenic Highway and enjoy a different view of Georgia.

Another take-away was to spend the night in the park, so that you can enjoy the sunset, sunrise and early morning nature. It is just $25 for a tent site per night, but make a reservation.

I also answered the question, "What am I doing next?" I am looking forward to visiting John Tanner park with my children. I am also going to really explore Florence Marina.