For September – Photo a Day Challenge

One of the best ways to get better at anything? Practice, practice, practice. For this reason I am going to be doing a photo challenge. I am excited to do a challenge and see what adventures await with just this one month.

Even though it is kinda cheating, I ended up creating my own challenge. I just started making a list with September in mind, and added days to them. I would like to save this and do the same challenge again next September. It would be great to see how I improve from one year to the next.

If you would like to join in, please do! You can download the image above and have fun! 🙂

Note: My first time around I had brown down twice! O.o I changed the second one to brown animal to make it better.

My Photographic Misadventure at the Peach Festival

Last night my husband told me that there was going to be a Peach Festival in a neighboring town, and he wanted to know if we all wanted to go. There was going to be a pancake breakfast, parade, booths, and more. I said sure, sounded fun! Not only did it sound fun, but I thought this was the perfect event to start out my new photo journey on. There was sure to be many photograph-able events. I could try out new angles, get some crowd shots, and anything else I could come up with on the spot. I packed the diaper bag for our one-year old, inwardly praising myself for being so prepared. I opted to bring with my small handheld camera and phone, and left my DSLR camera at home. I chose this route since I figured I would have my hands full with my LO. Again, I patted myself on the back for thinking ahead.

I was quickly knocked off my high-horse the next morning. We arrived at the pancake breakfast after the usually driving around and looking for the best spot to park. I was prepared: Baby was in the stroller (lathered with sunscreen), my diaper backpack was on, and I had my phone and camera in my pockets. After getting to the breakfast, we trudged through the line. The food was plentiful for the $7 a piece we paid: pancakes, sausage, eggs, milk, orange juice, and coffee. As I stood in line, I looked out into the crowd and thought that this would be a good photographic moment. People smiling, enjoying their food, all while as the sun was just peeking over the horizon. I quickly realized that steering the stroller with one hand and holding a flimsy plate filled with food in the other is easier said than done. I put my creative thoughts on hold until I got to the table. At that point though, the food smelled so good all I wanted to do was eat and share the moment with my family. I settled down and settled for this one food shot that wouldn’t even be good for Instagram. Boy, the food does look tasty though! And it was. 🙂

We then headed over to the parade. I had ideas of getting great shots of the crowd with enjoyment on their faces, or creative shots of the floats. However, I realized several things: 1) I was going to be relegated to one spot most of the parade, 2) I didn’t have time to make the setting adjustments to my camera, 3) at several points I helped hold the LO, leaving me to use my phone camera in my left hand. My best shot was one of the classic cars coming down the road, which happened in a rare moment I could sneak out closer to the street. It did require some editing though. I feel like there is a lot of noise in this photograph, and that it doesn’t follow the rule of thirds properly. For next year, I hope to improve on this shot.

Next we walked over to where the festival was at. The night before, fireworks had lit a hill on fire. There was still smoke rising from the ground, and firetrucks were on scene. It would have been the subject of some great composition. However, we were pretty far away and I had left my good camera equipment at home. I did get this shot (which I had to crop and edit the colors on). By the time we reached the actual festival, the temperature had soared. Also, there was a very long line to get into the festival. At that point we decided to take the LO and ourselves home.

Overall, I had a lot of fun with my family. It was exciting to watch my LO’s reactions to the parade. I did get some sweet family moment shots as well, so not all was lost. However, with regards to my goals of getting a photo in one of NG YourShot assignments, I have a long way to go and a lot to learn.

Next year, I hope to return to the Peach Festival and improve upon what I learned. Hopefully, I will able to actually get a picture of some peaches as well! 🙂

-Amanda

Freebies for You – thank you! :)

Hello everyone! Thank you for anyone who is going on this journey with me. It means a lot to have support. As a way of saying thank you, I have some freebies for you! I have always loved the “Hello *Insert Month Here*” images. I like using them at the top of my to-do lists and calendars. For fun, I made some using the photos I have taken. You can find them under my “Freebie” menu, or you can download them from my Pinterest account below:

Pinterest Link: https://www.pinterest.com/shutterbug13131/hello-month/

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did making them! Thank you again for accompanying me on my journey.

What is National Geographic YourShot, and how can it help you with your photos?

What is National Geographic YourShot, and why is it one of my goals to be published through it? The YourShot site is a community of photographers with a wide range of skill levels, talents, and interests. Members post their best work on their profiles, and other members can leave feedback on the images. Members can also indicate what they liked about the photo in regards to lighting, composition, and more. For a more detailed description on what YourShot is, please visit https://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/about/ .

A strong component of each image is the story that goes along with it. You get the chance to explain why this photo is so important to you, or describe the magic moment when the image was captured.

The site has actual National Geographic Editors who look at the photos. Sometimes the editors themselves will give advice on a particular photo, which can provide valuable insight. Can you imagine having a REAL photographer from NG comment on your photo?? I have yet to have that honor, but I am hoping the day will soon come.

Assignments and Daily Dozen

Each day throughout the workweek, the editors will choose a “Daily Dozen.” These are the top 12 new photos submitted that truly stand out in either composition and story. By looking at these photos each day, you can see some truly wonderful photography. It can provide inspiration for your next photo shoot, as well as giving you ideas on how to improve your own photos.

Another component of this community is the assignments you can participate in. Each assignment has a theme, and a description of the photos the editor is looking for. Members are welcome to submit their photos to the assignment. The editor will go through the photo and choose their favorites. At the end of the assignment, the editor will then choose the top photos to be featured in the final story.

My journey on YourShot thus far

I have been a member of the YourShot community for 6 years now. Depending on the time in my life, I have either been super active (submitting to assignments, commenting on other community member’s photos, etc.) to not even logging on for months at a time. My photo that has gotten the most attention is my “Icy Purple” photo. It has 583 “likes” and over 20 comments. I have submitted it to several assignments, but it has never been selected.

My crowning moment to date is having one of my photos selected as an “Editor’s Favorite” for the Urban Wildlife assignment. It was a photo I had of a Golden Orb Weaver Spider. I remember the day I got the email saying that my photo was selected as an Editor’s Favorite. I was so excited!! My family was there, and I told everyone who would listen. I spent the rest of the assignment checking my YourShot account multiple times a day, waiting to see what would happen. Since it had been selected as an Editor’s Favorite, it had caught the eye of other community members. I received a lot more “likes” on it as well as comments. The original photo is on a different computer, so I sadly cannot share it here. If you would like to see the photo, please visit it on my YourShot account at https://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/1927528/ .

My goal is to eventually be selected for one of the stories, and to have one of my images in the Daily Dozen. I will keep everyone posted with the progress that I make, and if I learn anything useful to pass on. 🙂

A bug takes flight – goals for this photographer

Hello lovely! Thank you for taking the time to visit today. As I start this blog, I am an amateur photographer at best. I have been taking photos for years, and have slowly improved upon the way. However, I am now striving to do more with lens. I started this blog to show the world where I am starting out from, how far I can go, and my progress along the way. I have always loved photography. The ability to capture a single moment in time truly amazed me. Today I am starting the journey to see how far I can go with it.

At the start of this journey, I have 3 main goals that I want to work towards:

#1 – Have one of my photos published in a National Geographic YourShot Assignment

National Geographic has a site for amateur photographers to showcase their work. This is a great place to receive feedback from some truly wonderful photographers and NG editors. Each weekday, the editors will pick out a “Daily Dozen” of exceptional photographs. There are also assignments you can go on. The editors will pick out their favorites, and sometimes leave comments on them. At the end of the assignment, the best photos are chosen and published in the final online article.

I have been a part of this group for 6 years now, and I have always wanted to have one of my photos chosen for an YourShot Assignment. This goal has eluded me. One time, one of my photos was chosen as an “Editor’s Favorite” for an assignment but didn’t make the final cut. Even though it didn’t make it to the final article, I was so excited when it was noticed by an editor! It inspired me to try even harder to capture the image that would one day make it’s way into an article.

As I work towards this goal, I hope to show you how I make this goal a reality: What worked, what failed, the struggles, the triumphs. If I can use this help another photographer reach their goal as well, it would make my heart so happy. ❤

If you would like to visit my National Geographic YourShot profile, you can view it here: https://membercenter.nationalgeographic.com/938658510590.

#2 – Participate in a year’s worth of photo challenges/scavenger hunts

I love looking at the photo challenges and scavenger hunts on Pinterest. These are the ones called “September Photo Challenge” or “Wildflower Photo Scavenger Hunt.” I love the challenge of trying something I might not have thought of before.

The added bonus is that some of these require you to take a picture everyday. By practicing everyday, you get a chance to improve quickly. I will be trying out some of these challenges to see how I can improve. My goal is to attempt a challenge each month. Then, compare my first photo to my last and see what improvements I have made.

After going through the challenge, I hope to create my own photo challenges for you to enjoy!

#3 – Become an expert in insect photography

For many years now, I have loved insects and spiders. I have been working on spreading my love to others; to show everyone that these creatures are not that scary. I would love to combine these two loves – photography and insects – to somehow become an advocate. This goal is more elusive, and I am unsure of what the

If you also want to photography insects, love the bug world, want to work on macro-photography, or want to see how this goal is reached, I would love to have you on my journey!

I took this photo of a beautiful butterfly, and I love it! I am hoping that this is something I can do more of for all kinds of insects and spiders. I am also wanting to hone my skills, so that one day this photo is my “before.”

#4 – Hone my photography skills so I can use them to stay at home with my family

My last goal does not have to do with photography specifically. I have a beautiful family that I would like to stay home with. If I was able to improve my skills enough, and utilize them in the correct way, I believe i could use my photos to help generate an income that would allow me to stay home. This is probably the largest goal I have set for myself. It is also a hard one to admit I have, because it is the one that is near and dear to my heart.

I know that there are others out there who have the same desires. I invite you to join my journey as well: Learn from my mistakes and successes. Help grow your own blog, or just see if it is possible.

Thank you everyone! I am excited to start this adventure with you! I hope that you will learn and have fun along the way.

Let the journey begin. 🙂

-Amanda