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What to Do If Santa Brought You a Scary Camera

I know how you feel...     ...When you ask for a big fancy camera and you pull it out of the box and realize you had no idea just how complicated it was going to be. 82 buttons. Did it really have to have 82 buttons? Fear not, there's another 171 photography class coming up with yours truly. Join me for five weeks of discussion on the finer points of good composition AND the meaning behind all those buttons on your new (or old) (or new to you) DSLR camera. We're going to unlock your creative control and learn how to use Manual Mode! You'll be able to actually get the bang for your buck you were hoping for in that camera.     Don't take my word for it... here are two former students to share their thoughts after taking a class with me: “This class was was such a fun experience! Jess brings such enthusiasm to the classroom, and really helped me feel more confident with my camera settings.” (Kara) “This class is definitely

“It’s the Most [Difficult] Time… of the Year…”

Christmas became a hard season for me five years ago. Maybe even earlier, I can't quite put my finger on it. And since it's a painful situation to begin with, putting my finger on it only seems to make it worse anyways. So I'm backing off with the finger pointing. I have neither the energy or the courage to truly bare my soul to you and explain my grief, so I will summarize: divorce is nasty business. The death of my marriage has introduced me to concepts of grief that I thought were only experienced by those who have lost a loved one to actual death. But something did die. My marriage.     And Christmas is a grief-anniversary. Because the traditions surrounding Christmas are usually about family togetherness and our family is not... together. And some of the Christmas seasons have been harder than others, but each time I try to trick myself into thinking I'm "there." I'm "back..." I'm ready to do all the cool-mom things I used to do. I'm ready to

Travel Adventures | Venice, Top Ten

It's taking painfully long to work through the edits on my hundred and hundreds of photos from Italy this fall. I wish I could just accept them as-is and have them be ready, but I can't. I fully embrace the lovely phrase "better done than done perfect" but when it comes to my art, my photography, I just have to do some work to be happy with what I show the world. I can't un-know what I know about how much more I love my images after I've edited them! It takes hours. And hours and hours. I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks. Sometimes I get frustrated because it's such a big project. And it gets interrupted often with real life demands and other photography (clients take priority over my vacation photos, after all.) But then I'm so pleased. In the end, it's worth it to me. Even if no one besides a fellow digital artist would understand why I would put so much effort into these photos or why it takes so damn long to finish a set, I know. And it matters to me.

Classes with Jess | Nighttime Photography, Holiday Edition

Ready to get your twinkle on?  Join me on Thursday, December 14th at 171 Cedar Arts Center for a holiday twist on my Nighttime Photography Workshop!     Bring your DSLR camera and your tripod (both are 100% essential for this class) and learn the art of long exposure. We'll be turning street lights and Christmas lights into starbursts that make your tail wag!      The class is from 5-8pm. We'll start at 171 getting comfortable with the concepts we need for this effect, and then we'll bundle up rain or shine and head out for a walk in the Gaffer District.     Please note: I'm going to roll with the weather for this workshop, so you need to dress appropriately and prepare to be flexible...      ... cause we're going outside, rain or SNOW ;-) But seriously, I'm almost crossing my fingers for snow. The only reason this workshop will be canceled is if it's a really bad,

Reality with Jess | Sometimes $h!t Happens

Sometimes you have to just force yourself to sit and snuggle under your quilt and drink your coffee and read your book, because you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself, and that's how you stay sane sometimes. Sometimes you are only home from Italy for two days before you get a new job at a place you love that you found out had an opening while you were still in the airport. Sometimes you have to leave a training shift at said new job and rush to the ER to meet your parents and your broken-wristed-baby. Sometimes little girls that are so bold and confident and amazing on the monkey bars fall and break their wrist. Sometimes you spend sleepless nights in the hospital and at home, giving round the clock meds and hugs and "I'm so sorry baby" words of comfort. Sometimes you haven't even had a chance to finish sorting through your trip pictures, let alone start editing them. Or you still have bits of luggage to unpack. Or outstanding client work to