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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

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

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

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

Classes with Jess | Momtography at 171 Cedar Arts Center

So if you checked out the complete class list that I'm teaching over at 171 Cedar Arts Center this session then you saw I'm teaching a fun Wednesday morning class for moms of young children. Momtography: The Art of Photographing Your Kids is going to be all about helping moms who have a passion for documenting these fleeting moments of childhood but feel like they're always bumping up against the frustrations of fast moving tiny humans. I've got tons of pro tips ready for you!   *** I hope it goes without saying that "Momtography" is an obviously gender-specific term that I just think is funny. Moms tend to be the ones at home with their young kiddos and they tend to be the family photographers. But for heaven's sake if you're a Dad who's rockin' either of those roles in your family please PLEASE join me for this class! ***     Besides being a pro because I'm literally a professional photographer (who has taken thousands of pictures of

Announcing: Photography Classes with Jess!

You guys! You guys! YOU GUYS! (<--- I'm jumping up and down like a crazy woman) I'm teaching classes at 171 Cedar Arts Center this session! So if you've ever looked at my work or read my blog or been one of my clients and thought "Man, I wish I could hang out with this girl and learn how to take pictures better" then YOU. ARE. IN. LUCK. because I've got three awesome classes open (plus one workshop) where we can get together and talk photography! If you're impatient to see all the options before I finish the blog posts ;-) I totally understand and you can check them out here. My Monday night class is going to be for teens (ages 12-17) and it's called Mobile Photography: Beyond the Selfie.      The idea for this class was born from my intense hatred of selfies ;-) Not because I don't love seeing everyone's beautiful faces. (I love faces, see?) It's just that I know there are so many potential artists out there who feel the burn in their