Friday, November 9, 2012

A Little Dash of Pixie Dust

I love to travel.  L.O.V.E.  I still remember being giddy when I got my first passport.  The world was my oyster.

I never turn down the opportunity to hop on a plane, train, or automobile.  Some of my most amazing experiences and most beautiful photographs are the result of saying *yes* and then sorting out a way to make it happen. I attended Pasadena Community College right out of high school, not convinced where I wanted to spend to the next 4 years. Posters advertising a semester at Oxford University were all over campus. I saw them for weeks, maybe longer. Then one random day, I was actually early for class - traffic was light, I found a parking spot immediately. I stopped and read the advert for the semester abroad. The deadline to turn in applications was in 4 hours.  I dashed over to the dean's office to inquire what had to be done to apply. He said, "Since your name is very English, if you write the deposit check now and have your paperwork in by next week, I will extend the deadline for you." SOLD! I wrote him a check for $400, grabbed the application and rushed back to class. I went home that night and asked my parents to put money in my account to cover the check and, oh, by the way, I'm leaving for the UK in 8 weeks. It was an awesome experience.

These days, with a toddler, a wonderful husband, and a part time job that I actually enjoy - that level of spontaneity isn't always possible.  To offset the lack of new travel photographs, I have begun playing with some of my images in Photoshop - textures, overlays, brushes, actions - and they are transformed. It is truly a whole new experience.  I am used to creating an image in the darkroom.  I have found some of the most wonderful blogs and tutorials.  Rita, of The Coffeeshop Blog, is my go-to gal.  I love her techniques and easy-to-follow tutorials. Rita Rocks.

There is now a new side to my photographs - I think of them as sprinkled with pixie dust. I love my variations. I can see my progress; I like that tangible nature.  I like that photos originally dismissed as mundane or just blah are now a feeding ground for my imagination.  I am giddy when Flypaper Textures publishes a new set.  I find myself hopping on the computer at midnight because I happen to think of a tweak for a variation I spent hours on earlier - I won't be able to sleep until I see how it looks.

Frankfurt, Germany

Now that I rely more heavily on my computer and my software, I need to look into upgrading and ways to keep current on techniques. My hands may not stink of stop bath anymore, but my photos will continue to be a creative outlet even after the shutter has closed. The student in me is excited ...

Lake Langano, Ethiopia

Central Park, New York

Los Angeles, California

Outside Tulsa, Oklahoma

Pike National Forest, Colorado


Sunday, September 30, 2012

I love functional art!

Sadie was so excited to have a tea party on the lawn. I brought out some of her *friends*, 2 blankets that were lovingly made by her great Aunt Carolyn, her new bubble machine, freshly baked peanut butter cookies .... and her kitchen. We fluffed her hair, tossed her into a new dress from Persnickety and I grabbed my camera. Hold onto your hats ....

I now remember why I always had help on photo sets. I needed about 3 more hands. One for the camera, one for the bubbles, and another to swap out magnets on her freezer. I am definitely doing this shoot again - she had fun (me too!) and I would love to be able to have her bubbles going.

Making cookies for Momma

I love functional art. I love seeing beautiful images incorporated into our everyday lives. Art brightens up a room. Art accents our moods and and thoughts and deeds.

My images are now available in custom magnets - I have almost every image in stock, ready to ship. They are high quality 2x3 inch magnets. Gloss finish. My daughter's messy little fingers have yet to tarnish or maim them.

Golden Gate Bridge Fogged In ...

I will begin listings for each image; but, in the mean time, if there is a particular photo you want - please convo me & I can create your listing.

Individually each magnet is $8.25. Sets of 3 are $20.00. They come wrapped for immediate gifting or they may also be sent to your lucky loved one directly! Large orders can also be arranged - please let me know what you are thinking and we can sort out a listing for you.

Please note: In stock items will ship immediately. If you want an image that I need to create, there may be a week or two lead time before I can send you the item(s).

Loving on her Piggy

And as always ~~
Side Note: $1 from every image sold (from all LWP outlets) is donated to Nothing But Nets to combat malaria around the world. $10 is all it takes to send a life saving net and peace of mind. Because, malaria just sucks ....

Thank you for taking a peek! 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sneak Peek ....

Working on listings tonight to put up throughout the week ....

Thank you to my stellar assistant + model, Sadiecakes! Love you .... (Wardrobe from Persnickety Clothing)

Have a good night everyone!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Learning From My Toddler (or Teaching Moments for Momma)

I'm a turn the other cheek kinda gal. And turn. And turn. And turn. But the Momma Bear in me does come out a-raging when the situation calls. This isn't one of those times but I am sure it's a teaching moment regardless (more for me than the kiddo).

Really. Excited. About. Paint.

Sadiecakes goes to school a few days a week - you know that. She adores it. We drive up the long ramp and every time she shouts *Woo Hoo! We're back!* I had my hesitations and crying fits about putting her in at all.  The fact that she now lists off her friends names as she goes to sleep instead of counting sheep melts my heart.

Outside playtime revamped to inside playtime

Sadie got her first Ouch Report yesterday. She and another child (whose name & gender are withheld, even from me) were playing play dough. Both had a dough and cookie cutters.  Ok, this is going to just get everyone confused - we will say *Clifford the Big Red Dog* wanted all of the play dough. Sadie wasn't exactly game for that. So Clifford tried to take it from her. Sadie firmly said *No, I'm playing with it* and continued making her sheep. Clifford got mad and grabbed her hand with the play dough in it and bit her. ((Here is teaching moment #1, ready??)) She got up from the table with her play dough and went to the teacher. No crying. No yelling. No biting back. Ok, maybe here is the moment - my Momma Bear alert would have gone off and I would have intervened to say the least. Sadie handled the whole thing like a pro, and after a talk with the teacher, the two resumed playing together. The bite did not break the skin; in fact, the only thing on her hands when I picked her up was pink marker and sand.

So we get in the car after collecting her numerous necessities that get hauled back and forth each and every time.  I try to be aloofly inquisitive.  She's 2, I don't know why I thought I had to be so cloak & dagger.  How was you day?  Did you paint?  Play with play dough?  How are your friends?  She answers each question as she skips across the parking lot and into the car. It's just like any other day. So I prod further. I'm asking if anything happened at school? Did she get any owies? Still zilch.

Now fast forward all the way to bed time. I've now been plotting for hours on exactly how to talk to her. She's been playing and reading and singing and dancing. Clearly a better use of time than what I was doing. So she all ready for bed. Teeth brushed. Jammies on. Book picked out. I tell her I want to talk to her for a minute. I want to make sure you're ok. I want to know what happened at school today. Miss Teacher told me you got hurt. She stares at me blankly.  Did someone bite you? Yes. (Break through!). Ok. Who? She then names all 11 other kids. (Damn) Now, let me be clear. I'm not interested in who it is, per se. I want to know that she is ok and that her friendship with *Clifford* is still as great as it was last week.

((Teaching moment #2, hold on to your hats!)) As soon as the incident was resolved - it was done. She was over it. It was a 30 second blip in an otherwise normal day. And I had festered and worried and fretted for hours.  Had it happened with a sibling or cousin, I too, would have been over it in the same 30 seconds.  Kids are going to be kids. They are crazy resilient.  It's our over thinking and fretting (OK. My over thinking. My fretting.) that gets things mixed up and turned about.

Waiting for me at the gate

This morning on the way up the driveway came a voice from the backseat *Woo Hoo! We're back!* My kid rocks.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Zen of Jammies

You wouldn't know to look at my house that I like things neat and tidy.  You wouldn't know that I hate to go to bed with a single dish in the sink.  Life happens.  You only have 1,440 minutes in a day (I just had to break out the calculator) and you have to use every one of them wisely.  Would I rather finish the dishes or blow bubbles in the front yard?  I will always choose the latter.

The crazy heat wave we have been enduring here in Los Angeles has everyone hyper aware of energy use.  Appliances need to used after 7pm; So, laundry has been a bit of a back burner.  It's ok.  Tonight I caught up on Sadie's hamper.  I had completely forgotten how much I love to wash her clothes.

Fresh out of the dryer - a jumble of color

Before she was born, I must have washed anything that said NB or 0-3 months a dozen times.  Wash, dry, fold.  Yes, I was on bed rest, so laundry kept me seated & busy.  Folding everyone of those little onesies.  Arranging and rearranging her dresser drawers.  Matching up brightly colored socks.  It's calming.  Cathartic.  Hopeful.  Children's clothes are bright and happy and soft right out of the dryer. How can you not have a smile on your face when you match up jammies with flowers and big bright dots all over them?  A tiny little break in your heart when you realize something is too small now won't fit her.  Folding her laundry is the perfect way to end any day.

Ready for the closet

Now would someone kindly put them away for me?  I would love to go bed now ....

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Adventures of a Photographing Momma & Her Snap Happy Shadow

I got my first camera when I was in elementary school - I remember it was a 110 film nothing fancy rectangle.  I loved it!  I didn't even care if it had film in it.  Sure, I was excited every time my Dad came home carrying one of those rainbow graphics envelopes that meant he had brought home my treasures; but more than half the fun was looking though the view finder & deciding what to snap.

My daughter, all of almost 2 and a half years old, LOVES anything that she isn't suppose to touch.  This makes her a very typical toddler.  Maybe this is how it is with all kiddos, I am sure; but Sadie's desire for wanting said object is rooted in her firm belief that she is not a toddler.  She is merely a vertically challenged person who is a bit clumsy (she, of course, sees all those traits in me).  If Mommy can do it, use it, wear it, drink it, eat it (you get the idea) - so. can. she.  Now bring Mommy's camera into the picture.

I did the research.  Really.  My 5 year old niece got a camera for Christmas from Grandma and Papa.  Big and colorful and chunky.  Cute, right?  The recommended age is 5+.  Ok, understandable.  It takes coordination, it takes responsibility.  I get it.  I simply can not wait almost 3 more years for her to have her own.  Several companies make kiddie cameras.  I looked into them all.  Cheapest?  About $50.  All the bells and whistles?  Around $80.  They all have tiny screens and most are PC only.  Here is where my rationalization takes over.  I'm a photographer - I want my cake and I want to eat it too. I want to shoot my images and I want to hold them in my hands. My daughter in no different.

So, while we were at my printers yesterday (Lovelovelove Fullerton Cameras!) I asked about used digital point&shoots.  Chris, one of my favorite people and my scan/ print guru, helped me pick one for her. It's a Nikon Coolpix L22. Yes, there was one $10 cheaper, but it had way too many buttons & knobs on it that I just envision snapping off before we made it to the car.  And it is used, so I'm getting a deal. And I'm supporting the little guy by buying from a small business and not from a company on the NYSE.

Her camera has a large screen, a big fat shutter button for her little fingers, it's not too clunky for her small hands, and a 2M card gives her 250 images with good resolution. AND I still spent less money than the kiddo cameras.

So I get her in the car - once she's strapped in, she gets her present. I try to give her a quick demo/ rundown of how it works. Forget it - *I do it myself, Momma* Yes ma'am. You've got it.

She's very excited to be doing it herself!

The 25 minute drive - she snapped, giggled, snapped some more, giggled some more, lots of *Cheese!* requests from the peanut gallery, and a few more giggles. I'm sure people next to us wondered why there was a strobe light in the back of my car. Her camera had 82 images on it.

Her first self portrait

Her view from the back seat

Now I understand that every mother thinks their child is brilliant and artistic and a natural at everything.   But I'm pretty certain that, while she is not a savant, she will be incredible at whatever she chooses to do - her strong will and independent nature will take her far.  I cannot wait to watch her grow up and make her own choices.  Ok, yes, I can.  But for now, I am beaming with pride that she wants and loves her camera.

Sadie's homage to one of my favorite painters, Mark Rothko
(Ok, it's really just her fingers over the lens but work with me here.)

Now say *Cheese!*

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tah Dah!

Before we get to my *long story long* blog below - I have news! I am a proud new member of The Artisan Group! So excited about the new talented artists I get to hob nob with!

Los Angeles is know for many things. The Hollywood Sign. Movie studios. Beaches. Crazy people. And heat. It's the land of perpetual summer. What we are not known for is humidity. Ick Ugh. Make it stop! Here is where we enter my current projects ...

I've been looking for ways to expand my photos into more tangible objects. Love Pinterest. Lovelovelove Pinterest. I found a tutorial on making magnets out of your images. (Have you found Photojojo?? They rock. Seriously, follow that blog!) So I tossed Sadiecakes into the car and off to Michael's we went! Zoom ....

I decided, since this was an experiment on many levels, I would choose mostly personal images. The finished products can go to work with Daddy, magically appear on Grandma's fridge, and the rest can be Sadie's newest trinkets.

I chose my images & resized them into one Photoshop doc. 2x2 images were recommended and fit perfectly on an 8x10 piece of photo paper.

Sliced them up & did the same with mat board (next time, I'm having the giant board cut into 8x10 sheets - SO much easier to work with - much less trimming, I hope!) Glue them together - trim a bit more (the tutorial actually recommends a small mat boarder - next batch ...)

Such lovely bits!

Temporary Work Space
Now comes the part where I am a fish out of water. Dimensional Magic Glaze. Same makers as Modge Podge. Lay it on like icing. Have a needle nearby for popping wicked little bubbles. Lay flat to dry, of course, but also cover with a cup or something to keep dust from settling on top.  The directions tell you it need anywhere from 3-24 hours to fully set. Lies. Ok, to be fair, not lies so much as a very very loose guideline. I blame the humidity. It was the only factor I could come up with. At a very long drawn out 24 hour mark, I race in! They are still cloudy and just as wet as when I *iced* them. Ok, wait. What? Let's come back tomorrow. Then the next day. AND the next. It took 3 1/2 days to completely set. Now my first round, I only did 2 squares so I could make adjustments with what I still had. And there were teeny tiny itty bitty bubbles. So, icing the rest, I dug in, knowing it would take days not hours and to examine closely for the bitty bubbles. These are not pop-able. All they do is swim around. I'm willing to blame humidity for that too. I now have a small dehumidifier (a la Amazon) for my next round of experiments.

When they all finally dried - it was time to glue the magnets on the back. Heat and humidity cost me another day for that to dry fully.

Seeing Spots

But .... (drum roll ......) TAH DAH!

Yay for magnets!

Curation by Sadie

We have magnets! I definitely have some tweaks to make on round 2 - that being said - I'm a happy girl that I have something to show for my time and effort. And Sadie is a happy girl to have her own magnets ...

I think I am going to try to refine this process before I try the next idea. Now that I am with The Artisan Group - I need to get some finished products rolling out so I can participate in the swag bags!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Operation : Take Stock

Hi! I feel it has been forever since I checked in ... summer adventures in the few hours we get with Daddy, the inevitable migraines I am unfortunate enough to have to tolerate, and a whole week of being home sick with a 2 1/4 year old (Grandma gives me a stern look when I round up ...). All of this has taken me away from the computer - and it has been quite glorious. I can do bits & bobs from my phone (when Sadie isn't using it to play Signing Time and Calliou videos) but no real nitty gritty work. So here I am, trying to get back on task. So let's see what we've got.

I am the queen of big ideas and the court jester of follow through. Pinterest has done an excellent job of perpetuating this. Etsy doesn't help matters either. That being said, I am fairly addicted to both.  I have grand ideas and plans for what I want.  Both professionally and personally.  I'm much better at the follow through with my personal life.  I have taken risks that I want to take.  I go after what I want.  I hold on to what I need with all of my heart and strength. These attributes have served me well and I am so happy with the people and place in my life - I am truly blessed and I know it.

Now, professionally .... I tend to take a back seat. Other things always manage to crop up, of course. And they will. The concern is that, that is when what I want becomes lost in the shuffle. It's my own doing and I have no one else to blame - and I'm not.  I am lucky enough to be able to spend most of my days with the coolest toddler I know. Really, she rocks. But very soon, she won't be spending her days with me on little adventures - she will go out and have her own. So, what do I do then?

 Enter the sub project - Operation: Take Stock. I've realized in mapping out what I want for my office/ studio/ escape pod - I need to know just what I want. Pinterest and Etsy have filled my head with ideas for my photos and LWP shop. Most shops not only have images for sale, but some product or tangible goodie ~ jewelry, night lights, clocks, lanterns ~ something. I have knocked around a few ideas. What can I make, realistically, that would be marketable? Will I have the time for it? Will I have the space? The start up money to create stock for sale? Do I want to make lots of them without tearing my hair out? I'm not 100% sure what questions someone asks themselves when jumping into a similar adventure but these questions are constantly rattling around in my brain. The way I figure, I need to really narrow down my selection so that I know how to create my *me* space.

I think I need to experiment with 2 ideas - see which one is more feasible and fun to do. I have been fortunate enough to inherit more darkroom photo paper that I could throw. My (former) boss, bless his heart, encouraged my photography and now I have a substantial volume of vintage paper. It was their photography collection that furthered my education and love of history of photography. I really feel the need and desire to find a way to utilize my new found acquisition - I have been researching contemporary and alternative uses for paper. I'm learning all about pinhole cameras, salt prints, paper negatives ..... my mind is leaping for joy at the prospect of being a sort of student again! I have also found some ideas, a la Pinterest, for cute (seemingly) easy photo projects that might work for my images. A quick trip to Michael's when Sadiecakes wakes up is on the agenda.

And as Operation: Take Stock moves into Operation: Take Office, I will be able to sort out what type of space will best serve my purposes. Paint for the walls was decided on yesterday & purchased! Walls have been taped. I just need to prep the walls tonight & this weekend we really are transforming the image in my mind into a physical space that I am so excited about.

I have no doubt that a few months after my little piece of heaven is complete and functional, there will be a need for a nursery. Here's hoping it's a girl and they can share a room. I'm not ready to give up my little space yet!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Year Older -

A year ago today, I think I spent the entire 24 hours glued to the computer. Furiously typing, listing, tagging, uploading, and voila! Loud Waterfall Photography had an Etsy shop & a Facebook page. A year later, I have many new dear friends, a few photos scattered throughout the world, a brand new blog that I am still trying to get the hang of, and a sense of accomplishment that I've managed to keep something alive for this long.

What will the next year hold? I have a few branches I am thinking of adding to the tree. New products based on my images, maybe a trip or two to replenish the archives and the soul. An expansion to the family is in the blueprints and permits stage (pinkprints?!?). The house needs a bit of a revamping - Pinterest has a way of igniting the fires & imagination. The next 12 months are shaping up to be full of excitement & adventure ....

Downtown Los Angeles - Chinatown - Walk-About

Thank you for joining me on my little adventure! I'm having lots of fun and learning even more. If you are ever in the Los Angeles area, I would love to buy you a cup of coffee (glass of wine?!!) and maybe we can go for a walk-about with our cameras ...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Operation: Cheese! Part II

We had our (extended) family photos done on Sunday at Santa Monica Beach. I was anticipating children fleeing to the sea in every direction, overcast skies, a busy beach given the upcoming holiday and the fact that it was a weekend.

Yes, that would be MY child with her mouth open like a baby bird ... (photo by me)

It was a cool morning but the clouds dissipated just before the lens cap came off. The kids were such troopers. There we all were - jeans and white tops - all 14 of us - marching down the bike path, over the sand, down to the waters edge. The song in my head started as The Flight of the Bumble Bee by Rachmaninov but as the morning progressed with few tears, lots of snacks, and promises of toes being dipped in the cold water - the soundtrack slowly shifted to Do-Re-Mi from the Sound of Music. You know the part, all the kids with Maria skipping and dancing and singing their way through Salzburg in coordinating outfits?!? Here was our troop - from the Papa all the way to the littlest who turns 1 in a week.

Ok, where are we going for lunch?!!

Happy Girl! (photo by me)

Phew, So glad I didn't have to be the one to take the photos. It was much more fun to watch the morning unfold and not worry about the direction of the sun or who forgot to take their sunglasses off (me!). Pretty excited to see what the finished products look like!