3 things I learned from my September Photo Challenge

Good morning everyone! Happy October – it is hard to believe that September is already over. It also means that my photo challenge for the month is over as well. It was a lot of fun trying out my photo skills everyday. If you would like to see all the photos I took for the challenge, please visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=102074784498956&story_fbid=105291374177297 . I have included the highlights here in this blog post.

#1 – Sometimes you need to get creative

If there is a random object on your list, it might be hard to find it on any particular given day. For example, one of the items I had to photograph was a basket. I didn’t think that was going to very hard, but I couldn’t seem to find a photo-worthy basket. It wasn’t until the end of the month when I went to a stenciling party that I came up with my shot.

I also found myself taking quite a few creative liberties. My “book” image was of a rainbow, harkening back to the TV show “Reading Rainbow.” Creative genius? Stretching it? To lazy to find books but had taken a great rainbow photo and wanted to use it? There are so many options. πŸ™‚

#2 – If you miss a day, it is ok!

Some days it can be hard to remember your own name, let alone to take a photo! Most of the photos I took for this challenge were not on the day they were supposed to be taken. The first 4 were good, then one or two here and there. However, most of them were taken in groupings when I remembered I needed photos for the challenge. Or they were taken without the challenge in mind, but ended up working out anyways. All of them were taken in September 2019, so that is good!

The important thing is to not get discouraged, and to keep going. If I gave up after I had missed one, this would be a very short and boring post. πŸ™‚

#3 – Pick your favorite and least favorite photos so you can improve

My main reason for doing this was so that I can improve my photography. So I wanted to look at both my favorite photo and least favorite to see if I could improve.

My favorite was probably #4 – Animal. I managed to capture a duck in front of a set of cliffs. There are things I could do to improve the picture, but I like how the duck is outlined in the photo. His head is turned just right so I can capture his face. You can see changing leaves in the background. I do wish that the image was clearer – that is something I will need to work on.

My least favorite is #10 – Leaves. This image is super blurry. I probably should have re shot it. However, I was desperately trying to get a leaf photo, and happened to spy this when we were in the car. Besides it being blurry, the composition is off. It doesn’t really read leaf to me. More like gas station. But it gives me an area to improve in at least. πŸ™‚

I am going to be trying to do another challenge in October, this time using one from https://www.theidearoom.net/october-photo-a-day-challenge . I will see what I can do with this new challenge. I have posted the new challenge below.

https://www.theidearoom.net/october-photo-a-day-challenge

Thank you everyone for reading! Hope you have a great day,

-Amanda

Sewing Project: 3 Different Nerdy Tablecloths

Hello everyone! I spent yesterday making tablecloths, and wanted to show everyone the finished products. I can sew fairly well, but usually do not have enough time to do anything very complex. My husband and I had bought some “material squares” a few months ago. One had the periodic table of elements on it, and the other had the planets on it. We thought that these would make good educational tablecloths for the LO. I made tablecloths out of the two fabric sheets, and a Pokemon tablecloth out of some other material I bought.

The first one I made was the periodic table of elements one. For this one, I used a base material that had numbers all over it. I added strips of black material to the sides so that it would be wide enough to fit the table. I then put the Periodic Table square in the middle. The fabric square already had a border, which was nice.

The second one I made was the Pokemon one. I had originally planned to make pillowcases out of the material, so I had already chopped up the material. Since I had the material in sections already, I decided to piece it together using strips of black material and create a quilt-like effect.

The third one I made was the planet one. I happened to have some turquoise material that I could use for a border. After I added the turquoise border, I added generic planet material to the ends to make it long enough for the table.

Hope everyone has a great week!

-Amanda

Redirection

Feet

I have been humbled in just the few months that i have started this blog. This journey started off with set goals and ideas. From the start, there have been setbacks and disappointments. Learning that YourShot was gone, having several outings where things did not go as planned, and failing to have a sale in stock photography, were all hard blows to take. I had thought that something would yield success to some extent, but nothing has.

However, not all is bad! I have enjoyed the creative challenges that I have found. And all this has given me a chance to reevaluate.

For the next few months, I am going to throw caution to the wind. I am going to be posting about lots of different things: Photography, crafting, organizing, etc. I want to find out which direction to fly! I plan to just blog about whatever comes to me until the end of December. Starting in January, I hope to have a clearer idea of where I would like to take this blog. I have read a lot of blogging guides that it is best to start out with a wide scope and then narrow it down. I started with very defined goals, so now I am going to expand out. Although I am doing this backwards, I think it will work out well. I am excited to see what happens when I include more. πŸ™‚

Thank you everyone! I am looking forward to the next couple of months. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

-Amanda

Another Strike: Trip to the Glenwood Caverns

I feel like I should rename this blog something like “All the things NOT to do when you have a camera.” A few weeks ago, we decided to take a spontaneous trip to Glenwood Springs to visit the Glenwood Caverns. After packing up the family, I grabbed my DLSR camera. I figured this would be a great opportunity to get some great pictures of Glenwood Springs and it’s many attractions.

After a long drive, we ended up in Glenwood Springs. One of Glenwood’s biggest attractions is Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. It started out as a couple of caves. But in recent years rides, stores, and eateries have been added to make it a small amusement park. To get to the park, you need to take a gondola ride up the mountain, which is part of the fun.

We arrived at the gondola entrance, and the LO looked up at them in wonder. I was so excited to take him up and show him around. We got in the gondola, and that part went well. I got great pictures of my husband and LO looking out the window. I also got some great shots of the sprawling town below us.

The problems started once we reached the top. We waited in some very hot weather waiting for the tour guide for the cave. We were able to get the LO in some shade and I kept wiping a damp washcloth over him to stay cool. He was such a good boy, just looking around at everything. The tour guide came and gathered the first 20 people in line for the next tour – we of course were numbers 23 and 24. As we waited for the next guide, I heard the first tour guide say that there were no large bags allowed in the caverns, and no food or beverages. No problem, I had saw lockers for rent back up by the gift store. I quickly ran up there, rented a locker, and ran back down just in time for the next tour. This will be great I thought: My husband would have the LO on his back, leaving me free to snap some great cave pictures.

Our first hurdle came when the tour guide was unsure of our baby holder backpack. It was an older one, so it would only work on the back. I assured that I would follow behind and make sure the baby’s head was safe. The guide agreed, and I made sure to stick right behind my family and make sure all was well. This was when I realized the second issue. I was wearing my prescription sunglasses, and had stored my regular glasses. This was going to do me no good in a dark cave. I was figuratively kicking myself, but took off the sunglasses and resigned myself to blurry vision. Then as we started walking, I looked into the backpack carrier holding the LO. I grabbed out my DSLR camera. That was when the LO decided to cry.

Loudly. Very, very loudly.

Everyone turned towards us, including the tour guide. Even with my blurry vision, I could see the look of “Oh no” on her face. I could feel everyone staring at us, probably wondering why did we ever think it was a good idea to bring a baby into the cave. I stood there holding my camera, trying not to feel like a bad mom.

At this point though, LO had had enough. He didn’t like the cave and he was letting everyone know it. His cries echoed off the cave walls, making them sound louder than they actually were. I could feel the displeasure rising from the other members of the tour.

At that point, I quietly approached the tour guide and asked if we could head out. She eagerly agreed, and had the rest of the group wait while she brought us back the way we came. Once we were back out in the sunshine, the LO stopped crying almost instantly. Now tired and embarrassed, we headed back towards the gondola. The gondola assistant asked how our trip was. We told her about the LO, and she said that Oh yeah, babies do not like the change of pressure inside caves. Info that we would have REALLY liked to know beforehand! Oh well, we thought. Maybe it will be a funny story for when he is older.

In the end, I ended up with only a few blurry images of the cave and a couple of decent shots from the gondola. My big plans had once again went sideways. And I had the added mom guilt of my poor LO getting scared in a cave.

Moral of the story: This mom has a long way to go with balancing photography and family adventure. And also. . . BABIES DO NOT LIKE CAVES!!!

-Amanda

5 YouTubers who are helping me on my photography journey (and don’t even know it)

Since I have a lot to learn about photography, and I know next to nothing about blogging, I have been watching YouTube videos to help me with my quest. Videos are a convenient way to gain knowledge, because I can let them play while I am taking notes or doing something around the house (great time to fold laundry!).

I have been watching two different kinds of videos: Photography tutorials and blogging tutorials. Each of these categories has a network of rabbit trails that lead off of them.

Photography

Peter McKinnon: Peter McKinnon has a great variety of photography videos and tutorials. He is an advanced photographer, yet he explains things clearly. It is interesting to see the different topics he photographs.

Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3DkFux8Iv-aYnTRWzwaiBA

Mark Denney: I haven’t watched very many of his videos, but he has a lot of videos on the basic elements of photography: lighting, shutter speed, etc. He has a lot of landscape photography as well. He took a year to see if he could make a living with photography, which I greatly admire!

Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCujr_HrX3ThMb34DV5YXHIg

Nicole Glass: Nicole has a lot of different videos, a lot of which have to do with stock photography. She has some eye opening videos on the matter, and has has success in the stock photography world. My favorite videos of hers are the ones where she shows two of her stock photos and has the viewers guess which one has sold.

Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo62u24M1wPmGYHIEg3gHDw

Blogging

Suzi W Start a Mom Blog: Suzi has both a blog and a YouTube channel where she talks about how to start and grow a blog. She also talks about time management, organization, and working on a blog while you have children. I actually started reading her bog before I saw her YouTube channel. She has a lot of great resources, and using the knowledge she had I was able to start my own blog. Her videos are inspiring as well as educational.

Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHX2hW6GhvIt00imrJjIrcA

Create and Go: This is another site about how to build and grow your blog. It has a lot of great information on the “whys” of blogging. The creator of this channel is also open about their blogging mistakes and how those mistakes helped them grow.

Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOkrld1FHoM_VMMjaeMekug

Please Note: None of these YouTuber’s are sponsors for me. I just enjoy watching their videos. πŸ™‚

Have a great week everyone!

-Amanda

End of an Era: YourShot is going away

As I started this blog, I was full of excitement in documenting one of my biggest photography goals: To be chosen for one of the assignments on National Geographic’s YourShot. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, here is my blog post on YourShot: https://shutterbugsflight.com/2019/08/12/what-is-national-geographic-yourshot-and-how-can-it-help-you-with-your-photos/. I was going to finally buckle down and try to get a photo that would be perfect for one of their many assignments.

However, about a week ago I logged on to get this message: “As of October 31, 2019, the current Your Shot platform will be discontinued and all engagement, assignments, and promotion of photos from our community will occur on National Geographic’s Instagram Your Shot feed.”

This was devastating to me. I have been a part of the YourShot community for 6 years now, and have gathered much inspiration looking at all of the photos. There are many talented photographers on the site. Personally, whenever I uploaded a photo, I would wait with anticipation to see if anyone would notice it. I waited for any comments, likes, or awards. I will miss those moments.

There is an Instagram account for YourShot that will continue. I will try to keep up on Instagram. However, I am not very good with that app. Surprising since I love photography, but I only got a smart phone about a year ago so I am behind the times. πŸ™‚

It appears there are other photographers who fill the same way. There are photos being uploaded with titles like “Please don’t end YourShot” and “I ❀ YourShot.” There are comments on some of the more popular ones as well saying how everyone is going to miss everyone else. After all this time, you really get to know some of the people on the platform.

It also appears that the assignments and the Daily Dozen selections have come to an end already. This leaves my goal of being submitted forever unobtainable. It is a hard moment for me. However, I don’t want this to curb my enthusiasm or deter my other goals in any way. This may open up other doors that I never knew even existed.

I will see if there is anything that happens in the next 2 months and do updates. In the meantime, if you would like to check the site out, please visit it at yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos.

Thank you for letting me get my emotions out! I hope everyone has a great weekend.

-Amanda

Saving for another day: Concert Photography

My original start to this post: “In a few days, I will get to go to a KC and the Sunshine Band concert! It will be a fun time with music, family, and…. a chance to capture some truly wonderful moments! I am going to use this as my first try at taking my photography to the next level. I can’t wait to try out the new skills I have been learning. I want to capture not only the concert, but our family and the crowd as well. I have been researching tips on how to take good photos at concerts, and I am so excited to try it out!

I typed this out about a week ago. The concert was going to be last weekend. However, due to Hurricane Dorian, KC and the Sunshine Band were unable to fly out of Florida. The concert was postponed until next year. I was disappointed to hear the news, but my thoughts and prayers are with the members of the band (and the rest of the East Coast) as they go through this ordeal. I hope that they can make it through safely.

And while I could not try out my skills last weekend, all was not lost. I still was learning the ins-and-outs of my camera. And there may be some time when I will get to attend a concert before next year.

Above all, I want to remain positive. Although I have now had two events that have not turned out great for my photography adventure, everything is still good. I have my LO playing beside me right now, a purring cat on the other side, and a cup of coffee. All is still good, and I know that it might take some time. Someday though, I will be able to showcase photography skills I am proud of.

Thank you everyone! I hope you have a wonderful day. And to those of you on the East Coast of the USA – please be safe. ❀

-Amanda

August 2019 Summary (first month)

On this journey, I want to be transparent about my progress. This way I will be more motivated to make progress if I am sharing it with the whole world. I feel the best way to show my progress is to post my “standings” regularly. At this point I plan to upload stats every mont, but I may cut that back if it gets too annoying. πŸ™‚

Please see below for my current progress on my photographic and blog journey:

YourShot

Editor’s Favorites (this month): 0

Editor’s Favorites (total): 1

Assignment Publications (this month): 0

Assignment Publications (total): 0

Daily Dozen Publications (this month): 0

Daily Dozen Publications (total): 0

Followers: 27

Shutterstock

Images uploaded and approved (this month): 9

Images uploaded (total): 29

Number of downloads (this month): 0

Number of downloads (total): 0

Blog

Number of new followers (this month): 4

Number of followers (total): 4

Social Media

Facebook Followers: 0

Pinterest Followers: 0

Instagram Followers: NA

Since this is my first month, I did not plan for the numbers to be very high. I am excited to see what everything looks like next month!

-Amanda

Down the Rabbit Hole: Trying out Stock Photography

A few months ago, I started a Shutterstock account to try and sell some of my photos. It was free to create an account, so I figured why not? I uploaded about 30 photos, and about 20 of them were approved. I am not sure what I was expecting, but my photos just sat there. There were no sales or downloads from what I could tell. I then read some posts that said stock photography was really hard to get into and make work. At that point, I had wrote off stock photography without really giving it a shot.

However, in my venturings on YouTube, I saw some videos from someone who contributes to Shutterstock. Her name is Nicole Glass, and she has very informative videos on stock photography! I have watched quite a few already, and subscribed to her channel. If you would like to check out her channel, you can see it at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo62u24M1wPmGYHIEg3gHDw .

**Please note** This is not a sponsored post, and I do not have any contact with Nicole. I am just wanting to share my progress and the resources I am using to grow. I hope that this will help you as well. πŸ™‚

I have been uploading quite a few of my old photos over the past couple of days. I read that uploading constantly will help. I also learned the different ways to upload content and which photos have a better chance of selling. For example, I uploaded this picture of ramen with a naruto in it. If you search, “Ramen with Naruto” it is in the first page of search results. I am not sure who would be searching using that exact phrasing, but you never know. πŸ™‚

If anything happens, I will do an update post on what is working and what is not. Hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!

-Amanda

What can I find on our morning walk?

Early Sunday morning, we decided to go for a stroll around the neighborhood. I thought to myself that this would be a great chance to find some photo opportunities. I was pushing a stroller (walks are way more fun with a LO along!) so I just had my phone camera. I figured if there was anything super extraordinary, I could return later with one of my other cameras. I was excited that I got to go on a photo hunt all while walking with my family – best of both worlds!

The first shot I saw was a lone rock sitting in the street. Sprinkler runoff had made a small stream next to it, creating an interesting effect. Overall, I like the composition of the photo. However, I had to darken it due to the bright light causing overexposure. I also think next time I would try not to get the horizontal cement crack in the photo. It creates extra noise in the image, and draws attention away from the single stone with it’s long shadow.

Next I found a gravel patch I wanted to shoot. Although not very unique composition wise, it looked like it would be a good background image. I uploaded it (and the others) to Shutterstock, to see if they work well in the stock photography arena.

Near the house there is a pile of wood chips that were what remained from an Elm tree stump. I wanted to get a macro shot of the chips. While I like the idea of this, this image was also in direct sunlight, so I had to darken it. Any photos submitted to NG YourShot have to be unedited, so I will need to learn how to take photos that do not need to be altered. Also, I think this image would also be better with a camera that could capture that fine macro detail.

This last image was next to the sidewalk. There was an area submerged by water, making the dirt wet and dark. There were some sticks, stones, and debris that make for interesting composition. I do think this one has room for improvement as well, but as of this moment I am unsure what would help. As I continue shooting, I would like to compare these images to the ones I will take later on.

I am enjoying this new adventure I am on! I am looking more and more at the scenes around me that I want to capture and preserve. There is a challenge in looking at the world and seeing it in a new light. I hope this week brings you a fun photo adventure. πŸ™‚

-Amanda