Thursday, June 30, 2011

First time as a second shooter

Last week I was asked by a good friend and fellow budding photog Melissa to help her out with a family photo shoot. It was a photo shoot for a family that had 4 children 5 years old and was a bit of a daunting task. And it was 112 degrees outside at the time of the shoot. (7pm folks...yep, it's still 112 degrees at 7pm!)

We had fun and the family were all great sports with us "newbie's" to family photography. Melissa was AWESOME to work with and I also had fun being the second shooter. It was nice to just have to stand back and get the candid shots and not have the pressure of "running" the shoot...and I know that she was happy to not feel like she was missing out on anything while setting the family up into their poses.

I hope that Melissa and I get the chance to work together more! (I'm sure that we will...especially since we've already been planning our next outing!)



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Edit Me - Flag Oil Painting

I really, really had fun this week with the Edit Me challenge over at My Reflection of Something! On last week's challenge the very talented Ashley Sisk used a super cool Photoshop plug-in called Pixel Bender to create a kaleidoscope out of the photo. Instantly I knew that I had to get the plug-in and start playing with it myself! 

First off, I flipped the image so that the flag was flying towards the right. I wanted to have some contrast in the sky, so I added a layer & mask to get a sky with some clouds and different tones of blue. I then used liquify to add the swirls to the sky...sort of like a Van Gogh painting. Finally I used the Oil Painting effect in Pixel Bender. I absolutely love the finished project and I had so much fun learning how to do it! What do you think?

Here is the original photo:


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The story about that time that I made out with the bartender

Yeah, you read that right. This is the story about the time that I made out with a bartender. But this story has two sides to it.

There is the story about what REALLY happened.

And then there is the story about what two drunk men think happened.

When we were on our little excursion down to southern Arizona at the beginning of the month we stopped into a local pizza joint in Bisbee for dinner. And let me tell you that it was a great place to eat at. The pizza was from a wood fired oven. The No Besos Para Ti appetizer was amazing and garlic-y, the beer--phenomenal, and the pizza was seriously out of this world good. Our waitress was great. We sat outside and let the children run amok (we were the only ones on the back patio, so they weren't bothering anyone and they got some excess energy out!).

Chris & Caleb exploring the back patios of the restaurant
We enjoyed our time, relaxed and conversed with some of the amazing people that worked there...including one of the girls nicknamed "cuddles." And yes, I did ask for some cuddles, but she did not oblige me. (I possibly just scared her...)

Wood pile for the wood-fired pizza oven
Then as we were leaving I noticed one of the women that was working behind the bar was having a little situation with a man just outside in the parking lot. I could tell that it wasn't a great situation and that mostly it was the man just being an asshat to her. Calling her names, and just not getting it. (Turns out he didn't like that he couldn't bring in his own bottle of wine to drink with wasn't something that they could do with the type of liquor license that they had. He just didn't get it and thought they were being "mean." Again I say...asshat.)

Noticing that she was upset about the exchange, I did a typical "Jen" thing and I went back inside to tell her how much we enjoyed our meal and our time at her restaurant. I knew that she needed to hear something good after such a sucky "conversation" with that asshat. (You see...this is just something that I often do, and my husband thinks that it's weird...I can't stand to see people upset, especially when they don't deserve it. And she didn't. Not at all. It doesn't matter to me if someone is a stranger. Sometimes kind words can make all the difference in the world!)

Now we get to the part in the story about me "making-out" with the bartender. After I told her how much we enjoyed ourselves, she grabbed me and hugged me. Then she began kissing my cheeks and saying "bella...thank you!" & "oh are wonderful." It was a very touching moment. I felt full of happiness for dissolving her rotten mood and I could tell that she was grateful for me taking the time to tell her that we had a good time and enjoyed the food.

I then walked outside to get into the car to go back to our hotel. The end of my story. Simple. Straightforward. Sweet. But...

Here is where the "other" view of the story comes into play.

Immediately as I opened the door to our rented mini-van the two men (one of which was my husband) began excitedly to tell me about how they had saw two women "totally making out in the restaurant!" I then told them that it had been me with the bartender.

I was quickly interrupted and before I could tell them that what they thought they saw was wrong, they exclaimed excitedly "YOU made out with the bartender!! Wow, she was HOT!"

Yes, in their drunken stupor what they saw was actually the exchange between the bartender and I. The moment that was really sweet and included a hug and a kiss on the cheek from a grateful woman, was a huge make out session to these two men. Ugh. I then had to calm them down and tell them what really happened.

All that I can say is...




Friday, June 24, 2011

A Trip to the "Old West"

A couple of weeks ago one of my closest friends and her family came to visit us. The thing about this visit is that it is an annual visit...every June she and her family come down here to the desert from the waterlogged state of Washington (my home state) and hang out with us. We swim, drink, laugh, eat a lot, and just generally have a great time. But we also plan one trip to somewhere in the state of AZ during each visit also.

This year we choose to head south of the Phoenix metro area and do an "Old West" trip. We hit up Tombstone & Bisbee and had a fantastic time!

First off we stated at Tombstone. If you have never been there I highly recommend is definitely a tourist town, but still so much fun! While there we were entertained by a shoot out at the OK Corral, the kiddos got to "meet" Doc Holliday up close and personal (he also grouched at them and took a photo with them all looking "angry"), visited the Boothill Graveyard, and took a stagecoach ride. We also walked around, shopping, checking out old buildings and just generally having a great time!

Next off we headed to Bisbee, Arizona. Now since this was my second visit to the town of Bisbee, I can honestly say that it is my favorite town in ALL of Arizona. It is a beautifully quirky town southeast of Tucson, near the Mexican border. It was originally settled as a mining town, but today is known as a charming, unique artist community. We decided to stay overnight in Bisbee in the historic (and haunted) Copper Queen Hotel...and yes, both families had ghostly encounters while staying there! We walked around the town, had an amazing dinner at a pizza place called Screaming Banshee Pizza...and if you ever visit the town make sure to eat here...the food was AWESOME! We did a little shopping, talked to local artisans, and took a tour of an inactive copper mine, the Queen Mine.

It was a jam packed two-day trip...but so much fun!!

And now, I'm going to overwhelm you with photos.

First up is Tombstone, AZ:

Our stagecoach driver, Cecil

The boys looking "angry" with Doc Holliday

Settling in to watch the shoot out at the OK Corral

The Earps

And here are some photos of Bisbee, Arizona!

Our hotel, the Copper Queen

Interesting art in Bisbee

Behind this wall was a dog park!

My son & his new "friend" at a honey shop in town

Getting ready to go on the mine tour!

The kiddos has so much fun pretending to be miners!

My two "miners"

Heading in!

So if you are ever in the Southwest visiting...I encourage you to travel down to southern Arizona and visit these two places. You won't be disappointed!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Edit Me Challenge - Week 6

I found this week's Edit Me challenge over at My Reflection of Something to be a little hard for me...I wasn't as inspired as I usually am. I think that it is all the stress at work (working on lots and lots of projects right now) and the heat of the summer getting to me! It's been anywhere from 113 degrees to 115 degrees the past few days and that heat just about takes all I've got in me to just to get through the necessary functions of my day, not leaving a whole lot room for anything else.

Original Photo

My edit

For my edit this week I used some actions from Totally Rad. Here is my formula:

1) Cleaned up the photo and added some contrast into it
2) f/zero action @ 35%
3) Homestead action @ 100%
4) Dirty Lovin texture @ 100%
5) Dirty Birdie texture @ 100%
6) Dirty Diana texture @ 85%
7) Dirty & Used Up texture @ 15%
8)  Finally I added a vignette & a little blur around the edges

So a quick question to all of you...

What do you do to recapture your creative "mojo" when you get burned out? Take a vacation? Girl's Night Out? Do you just push through it?

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