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Creativity… Better Done than Done Perfect

I had a student say she had a former photography teacher tell the class that "Every photo should be a work of art." and she asked me if I think that's true. And I said that's complete garbage.  I mean, what a creativity-crushing statement to give a new photographer! I sincerely hope this teacher was joking, or just trying to push for everyone's best, but if they were serious, shame on them. "Better done than done perfect" has always been a favorite life motto for me. It suits me because I gulp life down in pretty big chunks so I don't really have time to devote absolute perfection in any one area. So I really enjoyed reading Elizabeth Gilbert's new book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. {affiliate link} She is a huge cheerleader for creative souls to just get their dang work out there and then get back to creating more! If you feel like you have even one creative bone in your body (which really, all of us do!) then I highly recommend this book. As a teacher, and

Recipe | Homemade Sauerkraut

Back in the day I was happily swimming away in the deep waters that can only be described as "crunchy-hippie-Momma." It's quite an ocean to take a dip in... and if you spend any time out there you learn so much. There are waves and waves of interesting thoughts and concepts to check out. I loved my time as a crazy Crunchy Momma. I certainly don't regret cloth diapering Double Trouble and living in Germany made it easier to go green and shop locally. I started a lot of really great habits when I was a hippie. It's a very interesting part of my journey and in a lot of ways, still a part of me.  But I do remember having to make a decision about the time I wanted to start my business... I only had time for "Crunchy Momma Lite" So while I still make my own deodorant and toothpaste and my kids will always associate the smell of essential oils with their Mommy, you can sometimes find USDA beef in my fridge, store-bought granola in my pantry, and conventional makeup on my

What is “Golden Hour” Anyways?

Golden Hour is a professional photographer's favorite magic trick. It's a bit of a misnomer because it's actually a two hour chunk of time either right after the sun rises or right before the sun sets.     As someone who loves drama and bright splashes of light in her work, Golden Hour delivers almost every time.     But it also provides the opportunity for a really soft, natural light that flatters everyone. No harsh shadows under the chin or eyes, nice soft well... golden light! (for lack of a better word!)     There is something about Golden Hour that makes everything sparkle and shine! This image of this picnic table at any other time of day would not be nearly as inviting.     See? This isn't Golden Hour. This is Boring Hour. It's fine, it's just not singing to me.     But here, in Golden hour, it gets me feeling all poetic and nostalgic about summer, don't you

Reflections | Classes with Jess at 171

I now have two full sessions and a handful of workshops under my belt, so I can maybe stop calling myself a 171 rookie. Obviously, I'm going to be learning and growing and getting better as a teacher every time I step in front of a new group of students. But I definitely feel like I'm getting the hang of it. And I LOVE IT.     Teaching photography has been a wonderful experience and a welcome addition to my business. My favorite part for sure has been watching the smile that accompanies the moment something realizes they "get it."     Shooting in manual mode with a DSLR camera is a really interesting experience because once you learn what the main buttons and functions mean, it's like you suddenly have the keys to unlock a whole new realm of creative possibility!     There is nothing more frustrating than purchasing a camera upgrade and realizing you can't really fix most of the problems you were

Travel Adventures | A Cautionary [Trail] Tale

Last summer, my sisters and I went on a camping and hiking adventure in Acadia National Park, Maine.   We hiked and canoed and looked at lighthouses and went tide-pooling and swam in lakes and roasted fresh clams over a campfire!  It was fabulous. Except this one thing...     So I may have mentioned a time or two that I'm the least experienced hiker of my siblings. I mean, two are accomplished 46ers, one is on her way to being a 46er, and the other is working through the Appalachian Trail. Heck, if I don't watch out, my siblings will probably end up turning my kids into more experienced hikers than I am!     But really, what I lack in experience and strength I make up for in enthusiasm and optimism!  Spoiler alert - this is where I ended up on the day in question:     Still smiling ;-) So it doesn't phase me at all when my sister tells me this trail she's considering taking us