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Travel with Jess | 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,

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

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

Rediscovering CMOG Through the Eyes of a Child

Have you been to the Corning Museum of Glass lately? I just wrote a post for Urban Corning about how taking the girls recently helped me see CMOG with fresh eyes.      If you want to read the whole post, you can find it here!   Like this post? Please tell me in the comments about the last time you played tourist in your home town! I'd love to write down new

Market Street Construction Photo Op

I might be too late to enter these photos into Urban Corning’s contest  but I was inspired by Sean’s thoughts and I wanted to share my pictures anyways! Sometimes we forget that there’s a certain beauty, or at least something interesting, in everything… even the smelly, loud, inconvenient things like construction.     Three cheers for how quickly the Market Street repaving project happened! But while the street was closed, it was definitely an interesting experience. And I appreciate Urban Corning’s push to get out there and appreciate the unique chance to explore Corning in a different way!     I even had a couple chances to wander the empty streets at night with friends (and kiddos) and I hope that the memory of racing their friends up and down the street outside of Dippity Do Dahs stays with them. It was kind of fun that one of the busiest streets in Corning turned into a little bit of a

My Outdoorsy-Sister, My Nature-Muse

My younger sister is a third of the way done with her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. And I miss her face off.      It's weird... she lives in Rochester so you would think I would see her all the time. But she's a bada$$ ICU/trauma nurse who works night shifts and weekends and I'm a single Mom with school-age kiddos. So I don't hang out with her as much as I would like. But there was something about her leaving for this six month (0r so) adventure of hiking most of the East Coast that feels so much more difficult than her living an hour and a half away. I know I can still text her and I know she's called me pretty regularly for really great chats. And I know I will see her at least once mid-adventure.     I also know she's having the time of her life... I know she's learning a ton about herself through this experience... but the fact that she isn't here is so strange and so hard. And then the empathetic heart of mine is dying

Local Events | Fifth Annual Failure Summit

Last month, I attended the Failure Summit put on by the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes. When I first read the event description I laughed out loud, so I knew it would be a great way to spend an afternoon.  Being a small business owner is a really scary, risky thing. There are many days I think about how much easier it would be if I just got a more traditional job. But then the part of my creative soul that loves this business so hard knows I would not be as happy doing anything else.      It can feel really awful sometimes knowing that I'm not really sure how this wonderful experiment called "small business" is going to work out.  And it feels like I'm going the wrong way most days. I was hoping this Failure Summit would remind me that experiments (and even failures) are some of the only ways we can learn and grow and innovate. And I felt like the five brave souls that got up to speak that day were speaking right

Travel Adventures | Montreal, Canada

So my siblings are pretty close. And one sister is about to abandon the family go off on an epic adventure to the Appalachian Trail. Naturally we needed to do a quick sibling trip to celebrate and send her off!      She suggested Montreal and the rest is history!     First of all, everyone remember that I'm not a travel expert and in fact, I'm absolutely terrible with maps and directions so take all of my advice with a lot of grains of salt ;-) But I hope you enjoy the pictures and if you do travel up there, maybe a tip or two from this post will be helpful!  I like this map app. I used it a lot in Europe because the offline feature gave me peace of mind.     Okay so our hotel was AMAZING and I highly recommend it if you're traveling in a small group. Trylon Apartments and Hotel has fully furnished spaces in a great location. Comfy and clean and well-priced. We didn't have time to use it,

Classes with Jess | Mastering Manual Mode at 171 Cedar Arts Center

There are a lot of people wandering around this wonderful world with a camera they just don't quite know how to use. It can be super frustrating and intimidating to open the box of your fancy new gear and realize that you haven't the slightest idea where to start with all those buttons and settings. It's scary, I know.  And I'm here to help! Bring your camera to 171 Cedar Arts Center on Friday nights and we will go over all the creative settings you need to know to get the images you've been pining for.     Some people go years and years without learning how to take their camera out of auto and into manual mode. But not you! Cause you're going to sign up for this class and learn how to shoot creatively.  In this class we're going to take baby steps out of those automatic settings and into the slightly scary amazing realm of manual, where you will discover the power to finally get the shots you want. You know your camera is capable of more and I