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Local Event | Dollhouse & Miniatures Exhibit at the National Soaring Museum

I'm trying to be better about capitalizing on the many many many local gems I take for granted in this area.   Living in Corning, and in the Finger Lakes Region in general, it can be easy to get complacent about local travel and sightseeing. Which is a shame because there really is so much to see and experience! That's one reason I really like being a member of the Corning Area Chamber of Commerce. I find out about so many great little events and exhibits and places I have meant to check out. Sometimes it's just that one member news email announcing a special exhibit to get my butt in gear and head over to that museum I've been meaning to take the girls to for over a year. It's a true story; that's literally what happened! A few weeks back I opened up my inbox and scrolled through the Chamber newsletter. And I found out that the National Soaring Museum in Elmira is currently hosting a special miniatures exhibit through

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

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,

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

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

171 Cedar Arts Center | Spring Recitals

I'm really enjoying my first steps into the adventure of teaching photography at 171 Cedar Arts Center.     I love the energy and excitement I find whenever I walk in the beautiful buildings. The Cedar Arts family has such a diverse offering of classes that every day has a completely different feel. Sometimes during photography class we have the background music of an exciting tap class, or the amazing smells of a cooking class to tease us ;-) Or there's a new exhibit being set up across the hall in the gallery. (Check out Laura's work this week... it's a fabulous exhibit and it ends the 16th!)     It's a joy to be on staff and contribute my art to the mix by teaching and empowering my students!  The longer I'm here and the more I learn, the more in love I am with the mission and passion of 171 in this community.     So I was extra excited to work photographing the Spring Recitals this year. As a

National Trails Day | Sperr Memorial Park

Happy National Trails Day!  If you're looking for a great way to celebrate #NationalTrailsDay you should check out Sperr Memorial Park in Big Flats. It's just off 86 at exit 50.      As a part of the rails to trails network, it's also a beautiful memorial park to New York State Trooper Andrew J. Sperr.     We really like Catharine Valley Trail but it's a bit more of a commitment... Sperr Park is so nice because it's very manageable on a beautiful sunny evening after dinner.     So grab your bike (and helmet!) or your sneakers, and check out the peaceful trails around the pond.       There's easy parking and a playground. And in a pinch, there are... ahem... rustic restrooms for those with strong stomachs ;-)     Enjoy your lovely weekend! And I hope you get to enjoy a trail near you soon!     Like this