Never Stop Learning!

•January 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment

 

It has been about 13 years since I bought my very first digital SLR camera, not knowing a single thing about how to use anything other than a point-and-shoot camera.  I learned by experimenting and trial and error.  I’ve also taken a few online photography classes.

The one thing I’ve learned along the way is to never ever stop learning!  There are so many new techniques to learn.  If you use the same technique every time you shoot, your photos could possibly suffer.  Some people will develop a technique that becomes their signature–Ansel Adams is a perfect example.  However, not everyone who is a photographer achieves his status.  This is why I feel it is so very important to learn new techniques.

I continue to take online photography classes and I try different techniques that I’ve learned to see if I really like the end result in my own work.  Sometimes, I find that I prefer certain techniques for certain scenes where some might prefer to use a certain technique more often.  It’s all about personal preference and what you’re trying to convey through that particular shot.

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This particular photo was taken with a new technique that I learned to use.  I was quite happy with the end result.  I need a little more practice, but I think my first attempt turned out well.  Fortunately, living in Alaska provides lots of opportunity to practice!

Never stop learning and don’t be afraid to try something new.  You might just surprise yourself.  I’m looking forward to trying this again!

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Happy New Year!

•January 2, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I typically spend my New Year’s Eve at home alone with my dog.  I haven’t gone out for NYE in seven years.  In fact, the last time I went out for NYE, I had the most miserable time.  A friend and I had gone to one of those big fancy parties at one of the hotels here in town.  We rented a room so we didn’t have to worry about driving, got dressed to the nines and headed down to the party.  I could never get her out on the dance floor.  Instead, she preferred to sit at the table and mope, dwelling on how she was spending NYE alone and not with a guy.  It was quite a depressing NYE…..and to think I dressed up for it.

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This year, however, I went with a group of friends.  There must have been about 20 of us.  Some are single, some married or with their significant others.  No one was there to “find their true love” on NYE.  We were there to hang out as friends and ring the New Year in together.  Some drank and some didn’t.

We danced all night long.  Sometimes the guys would grab one of the gals while other times, the gals would grab a guy.  A few of the guys said they don’t dance…….well, they sure did that night!  Sometimes, the gals would just go out and dance; but we’d always find one of the guys and drag them out there.

There was no pressure to hook up just because someone asked you to dance.  There was no pressure to drink if you weren’t drinking.  There was lots of laughter, smiles, and hugs.  It was the best NYE party ever!

My Christmas Wish For You

•December 25, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Another year has passed us by.  For some this year may have brought abrupt endings or unexpected turns.  For others, the year may have brought new beginnings.  Some have closed another chapter and started new ones.  I know it’s been a hell of a rollercoaster for me in a number of ways.

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My Christmas wish for you is for you to find happiness.  I hope that as we enter 2018, you are truly happy.  I hope that your happiness comes from within and shines through to everyone you encounter.  The happiness I hope for you is felt within your heart-it doesn’t come from material things.  It comes from making memories with loved ones, living each day as though it’s your last, making others smile when they didn’t think they could.

So whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or whatever your particular tradition is called, I wish you happiness like you’ve never known.

I Took The Big Step

•December 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

While I have a few hobbies, one of my most favorite is photography.  Over the years, I’ve taken at least 10,000 photos.  I first picked up the hobby in 2004.  Every chance I get, I load up my camera and go take photos.  My favorite subjects are landscapes, wildlife and night photography.  Living in Alaska feeds my passion because there is no limit to the beauty to be seen.

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While I was recuperating from surgery, I decided to act on something I’ve been thinking of doing for a couple of years.  I had been considering starting my own business.  Taking the first step and making the decision to go for it was probably the hardest part for me.  I’m very critical of my work and very hard on myself.  I know not every photo I take is the best so that particular personality trait will be a benefit when it comes to choosing what photos I’ll offer for sale.

I wrote up a business plan and set goals in place.  I wanted every step planned before I took any action.  I don’t do things haphazardly.  When I set out to do something, I set out to do it as close to perfect as I possibly can.  I also don’t view failure as an option.  My plan is to succeed.  I know success won’t be immediate and I expect it to be.  I also know new businesses don’t always turn a profit in the first year so I won’t be disappointed if that is the case.  I also won’t let it slow me down or discourage me.

I’m really excited to see what will happen once I start rolling it out.  I think it will be good for me.  I’m excited to work with the new contacts I’ve made and excited to know that they will refer me.  Word of mouth is the best way to get (and keep) business–that’s always been my belief.

So cross your fingers and let’s see how things go!

Live Life!

•December 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

When I look back on the last year, I realize that I was actually sick months before I ended up in the emergency room.  My energy level had been practically nonexistent since about January or February.  I can remember coming home from work and being completely exhausted.  I’d take Rosco for short walks and they would do me in.  Things that normally spike my interest were no longer as interesting.

Now that I’ve recovered from surgery, my energy level is much higher.  I’ve begun doing cardio workouts again.  I’m living for January as that’s when my doctor-ordered restrictions are over.  I’m not supposed to lift over 20 pounds til then.  I may start a weight workout using light weights until I can actually go for it.  My goal is to get rid of the weight I’ve gained since I got sick.

I’m back to eating healthy again.  I actually have the energy to prepare all my meals for the week on Monday (my last day off) where I lacked the energy and stamina to do that before.  I’m already feeling the benefits of this and it feels great.

Life is good.  The one lesson this whole experience has taught me is not to listen to the doctor that blows you off or one who is quick to write prescriptions.  I’m not one to go to a doctor often.  In fact, I can think of a ton of horrid things I’d rather do before going to the doctor……or, heaven forbid, the hospital.  When I went to the doctor complaining of fatigue, she blamed it on my age and working long hours.  She prescribed me some type of medication that one would give to a narcoleptic.  I took it twice and wasn’t able to sleep at night so I tossed it.  When I complained of pain, she gave me antibiotics for what she thought it might be.  I tried to explain that it wasn’t that type of pain but resembled something else.  When the antibiotics didn’t work, the tests began.  She’d prescribe this drug or that drug.  None of them worked and the possible side effects were horrible!  I was supposed to go back for follow-up last week; but I cancelled that appointment.  I’ve already been cleared by the specialist so I don’t see the need to bother.

I’m glad to be alive again.  I didn’t realize how unalive I actually felt until recently.  Live it up and enjoy it while you can.  You only live once so don’t waste one precious moment of it!

 

Ready, Set, Go!

•November 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Over the last year, I’ve been giving some serious thought to starting my own business.  Photography has always been a huge hobby; and I’ve managed to sell a few pictures here and there.  I began to contemplate the idea of turning it into a business.  At the beginning of the year, I had begun to research a few different options. Getting sick put everything on hold.  The drugs they had prescribed left me fuzzy-headed or dead asleep so I wasn’t very productive.

Now that I’m well, I resumed my research.  I’ve purchased a business license and have decided on what I’m going to do for sales.  Some people like pictures for their walls.  Some people like them on things like t-shirts, mugs, phone covers, etc.  I’m revamping my personal website and turning it into a business site.  I’ve signed up for a couple different sites that will sell product.  They handle shipping, returns, and collecting payment.  There are some things, though, that I will sell only on my website so that I can actually monitor those items for quality.  I’ve also spoken with a couple of businesses who have told me they would like to display my work.  They are willing to sell them onsite and, of course, I’d pay them a commission on anything they sell.

I’m actually pretty excited about it.  I should have everything up and running by the beginning of the new year.  My goal date is January 1; however, if I am ahead of schedule, I’ll be even happier.  Wish me luck!

Another Hiatus

•November 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Well, I’m back after yet another short hiatus.  The last time I blogged, things were going pretty well.  Rosco and I had been walking every day and I was looking forward to hiking with him often.  We made it on a couple easy hikes when I began having pain bad enough that I didn’t think I was going to make it back to my truck.  I felt like someone was stabbing me in my abdomen; and it seemed to happen any time I did anything that got my blood pumping.  Then the pain began keeping me up all night.

At this point, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the doctor.  After several tests, all of which came back normal, I felt like my doctor was playing a guessing game.  She put me on antibiotics, thinking there was an infection since my white blood cell count was elevated.  That seemed to work…for about a week.  Then the pain came back with a vengeance.  It kept me up constantly at night…almost every night.  I was exhausted all the time.  Doing anything at all made the pain kick in.  It was becoming more constant.  By the end of July, it was never-ending.

By mid-August, I was in the emergency room.  I have a high pain tolerance so by the time I hit the emergency room, I could barely walk.  They ran more tests.  They shot me up with Toradol, and the pain was gone.  I felt human again.  They sent me home with vicodin and told me to start taking it about the time the Toradol would wear off.  I was told to go back to my doctor for follow up and referred to a specialist.

In two days, when it was time for my follow-up appointment, the Toradol had worn off.  The vicodin wasn’t putting a dent in the pain that had returned.  She agreed with my seeing a specialist and called to make the appointment herself.  In the meantime, she had prescribed a different pain killer.  We went through a few different ones by the time I hit the specialist’s office, none of which were working.

A week later, I saw a specialist and was given the option of surgery.  She was going to give me a couple days to think about it; and I told her I didn’t need a couple days and that I wanted it done as soon as possible.  I had surgery the following week.  That was the first of September.  While I’m not 100% healed up, I feel a damn side better than I did a few months ago.

I lost my whole summer.  Poor Rosco was stuck at home with me while I recovered.  Now, I can lift him into his wheelchair and it’s time to start walking again.  I’m looking forward to that.  I’m looking forward to working out again and being healthy again.  When you’re stuck basically having to be still for 5 months, you end up gaining weight no matter what.  I feel “squishy” which I don’t like so working out will fix that too.  Things are finally looking up!