Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wanderings: WOO HOO!! Spring Break 2009

Wish You were Here-JanPan

If you are like me dear POE peeps, it's probably been a few years since college and that fabulous one week celebration in March...THE Spring Break. For those of you still in college, well you are probably not reading this right now anyway, but if you are, you are probably hung-over, so I will keep this short and sweet!

Le Cocktail-Knight27

But for those of us a bit, ahem, older, I thought we could quickly visit all those wonderful places where people are getting wild and partying without a care in the world. So stop what you are doing, grab a margarita or other refreshing beverage, blast your fun music and take the next 15 minutes to let it A-L-L OUT!

Cheers baby!

Good Morning San Jose-preetalina

Western Motel-lauri

A Florida Sunset -finfera

Casa Familiar-Ann Wilkinson


Fort Lauderdale-Dejaili

Mexico Sunset-marshallarts


Do Not Feed Alligator-futurowoman

Swallowed in the Sea-LoveErica

Conk Shell-ANJacobsen

Michelle Campbell-Zurek is an artist/photographer from the east coast who is wide-eyed and smitten with the crazy town called LA. When not on a quest to capture light and stop time, she can be found painting and ingesting gobs of sweets & tea. All are welcome to stop by the Urban Junkies Artist Lounge, as well as Michelle's photography shop, art shop and website.

Friday, March 27, 2009

New Works!

Spring has sprung, the season's just begun.
These are a few flowers, no bees.
Hope they brighten, hope they please.

LOL ok there you have seen my poetic side! I went looking for images for this week's post and fell in love with all of these flowers. Hope they bring a smile to your face!

Inner Beauty - flandersfield

Curiously yellow - ajawin

I'll take endless showers... - ajawin

In the morning - schamka

pinks - elpatenaude

Mother's Day bouquet mini-gallery print collection - zuppaartista

New Works is compiled by Pam Hardy. Pam lives in beautiful Alberta, Canada. She has always been fascinated with cameras and has been taking pictures most of her life. Her favorite things to photograph are flowers and animals, and she enjoys experimenting with new subjects and techniques. See Pam's website here and her shop right here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Focus On: LeSophie

Our journey in this life has twists and kinks and stops along the way. We are a product of the decisions we make; we are a product of the opportunities we encounter. Often, we need to make sure we see all the opportunities before us, and at the same time, we need to trust our innermost feelings -- our gut instincts. Leslie Sophia Lindell is one of those artists who grabs all that life has to offer and joyously gives back to the world what her eye sees. She's a professional photographer clearly NOT jaded by what she does for a living. Her use of color, light and composition shows an enthusiasm for all aspects of her life.

Ann: How did you find Etsy?

Leslie: I had been an Etsy shopper for quite awhile, and I'm just in love with the fact that, as artists and art/handcraft lovers, we can reach out to one another and support small business. Another bonus is the access to the most fantastic and unique handcrafted items of ALL kinds. When I did make the decision to offer some sort of my personal work for sale, it was a natural and easy choice for me to use Etsy as my venue.

A: I see from one of your blog posts you've been taking pictures since you were a teenage. Has your photographic journey been a consistent one? Can you describe your life history as a photographer?

L: I did first get a glimmer of the photo bug when I was in a high school photography class but didn't receive much encouragement at the time. It was a few years later when I was working as an assistant in the art department of A&M Records that one of my lovely bosses opened the refrigerator one day to reveal stacks and stacks of film. He looked at me and said, "Go for it." This is where I really caught the bug. I only shot black & white, pushing the film as hard and grainy as I could and developing my own prints in the lab. I had incredible freedom and didn't mind too much how I might screw up or not. But at that time in my life I still had the "it's only a hobby" attitude toward photography. Not to mention, when I moved away from Los Angeles, I moved away from that refrigerator full of free film! It would be quite a few years before I picked up the camera again. This time it would be digital. The whole world of photography had completely changed, but I found a similar freedom in being able to just shoot like crazy. There was a hook to instantly be able to see what I was getting in that little viewfinder, and to be able to load them into the computer, and "develop" them further in a new version of the print lab -- Photoshop. I was blogging and getting some reaction to some of my shots, and I started to take this feedback more and more seriously. Then the most pivotal moment of my photographic career came: I have wonderful friends and family who think I'm a great photographer, and some of them happen to be graphic/creative/art directors. Their opinions held an exciting weight and the very real possibility of making this a career. I took the leap and never looked back. I have now shot everything from a pin-up style calendar to the harvesting of olives.

A: I love how you had such a great opportunity to get into photography. This is kind of a chicken-and-egg question: Do you think the support of your artistic friends helped build your confidence, or do you think your own sense of your ability and accomplishment made your friends sit up and notice what you were doing?

L: Well, of course the easy answer is both, but if you dig deeper you get more into my belief system and the way I have always chosen to live my life. I truly believe we --as artists, yes -- but even more as human beings need to learn to trust our inner voice. Call it gut feeling, instinct, essential self, sixth sense -- whatever works best for you -- and learn to listen to it. Then, stare at any fear you may have right in the eye and try not to think of things as black/white (pardon the pun) good/bad, success/failure as they play out. I really believe taking a leap of faith gets you closer to who and what you are meant to be in this life. When you have external support it become that much easier to go for it. For me it was the final tipping point. Photography has altered my path in such an exciting way, and I could never have pursued this path without a boisterous chorus of support -- from my people and from my own self.

A: Do you mostly do commercial photography, or do you do a lot of portraiture work?

L: I have shot a myriad of things since I formally began my photography career, and nearly all commercial. Professionally, I am focusing on food and travel because, well, I love to cook, eat and see the world! I do really love to shoot people but find my passion and forte often tug me right back to the former. Besides, cupcakes don't mind how they look in the final edit! And then, of course, my Etsy shop is filled with a selection of my personal work which holds its own kind of you and satisfaction.

A: What advice would you give to an Etsy artist who must post great photographs of their work? Any good tricks and tips that haven't been discussed in the Etsy forums?

L: Gosh, this is the hardest question for me to answer so far! I am certain I cannot think of anything which hasn't already been addressed in the truly wonderful forums on Etsy. What I will say is that one should NEVER underestimate the huge importance of the quality of your photos in an online marketplace. In this case, the old idiom "pictures speak louder than words" is true a thousand times over. Pick your favorite shops, ask yourself how their shop set-up and approach to selling appeal to you. Ask someone whose eye you trust to help you select your photos. Pay attention to which items are selling the best to gauge the market. And, of course, trust your gut!

A: So you love food and travel. I think that's the perfect combination (along with a little wine for good measure). How do you make this happen? Can you describe a Leslie-food-and-travel shooting day?

L: Ah yes, of course the wine as well! I definitely agree! It certainly doesn't hurt to live right in the middle of one of the best areas for food in the world. Not to mention what an excellent travel destination it is. San Francisco is a stellar city; Mount Tamalpais/Muir Woods is a coveted hiking destination; the varied and stunning Northern California beaches, and let's not forget the Sonoma and Napa wine country. My clients, for the most part, live here, too. It's a natural fit! A typical shooting day can vary widely depending on the clients' needs, but what is nearly always the same is my approach. I shoot natural light almost exclusively. I pack as little as I can in my Crumpler bag, and I like to stay under the radar. No big lighting rigs and crews for me. You might find me tucked into the corner of a busy restaurant shooting away or perhaps leaning into a plate for tight, shallow depth-of-field shots in my very own kitchen. Perhaps I'm even shooting through a frosted margarita glass on the beaches of Mexico. Now I'm ready for some clients to fly me to The Maldives or Bulgaria or Argentina, yes? Got to put your dreams out there!

A: I notice you've done some work in the Napa Valley. How wonderful is that? Please give us some details!

L: Yes, Napa is only 40 minutes north of San Francisco, but the wine country feels worlds away. My most recent shoot in the area was for an olive oil producer, Stone Edge. The best story about this shoot is: my client was to meet me at the property at a set time. I arrived early to see how things were going, and the foreman told me the last of the olives would be stripped from the trees within 30 minutes! I had been told I'd have hours to get the shots, and had I not turned up early, I would have missed the harvest altogether. I had a moment of panic, and then I just tossed all my things to the ground and started shooting like crazy. I climbed the ladders between the workers, jumped under the trees as the last of the olives were coming down just saying, "Excuse me," and "Don't mind me," and I ended up getting some of my best work! Perhaps the adrenaline rush had something to do with it! The client showed up as the last of the olives were being loaded and hauled away. He ended up very happy.

A: Describe how you see yourself in five years. What are your goals?

L: Wow! I guess at this point in my life I should never be surprised about synchronicity again, but sometimes I am still so surprised! This very morning I went for a hike with my friend, Sam, and we had a long discussion about this exact topic -- where things will be five years from now! Actually, rather than a specific set of goals I choose to envision a potential outcome so there is room for other possibilities which may be in store for me. So let's say in five years I'd love to own a sweet little dream home here in Mill Valley, California. My friends will always be welcome. They will know where the extra key is hidden, and the refrigerator will always be full. That little nest will be the perfect place for me to base myself while I travel and shoot all over the world for six months of the year. This sounds absolutely ideal to me. But who knows? Perhaps the Universe has something altogether more fabulous in store for me! We'll just have to wait and see...

cuidame (take care of me)

Thank you Leslie!

A world traveler and self-taught photographer, look for Ann wandering around city streets and tromping through woods and hiking trails with her camera. After owning an international transportation business for many years, Ann has found her creative spirit again through the lens. See more at Ann's shop and her website, and say hello to her on her blog too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wanderings: Qu'est-ce que tu fais à Paris?

Lights of Paris-mkendall

Ahh, Paris in the springtime!

Oh, how I love Paris au printemps!

Ok, you caught me! I haven't been to Paris yet! Because if I had, there would be a gazillion pics for sale in my shop! But when I do, it will definitely be during springtime and I know it will be incredible!

I can only imagine how beautiful and dreamy it must be like! I bet the air smells so fresh, and is delicately mixed with the scent of flowers, rain and sugary sweet pastries! And there is so much to do and see! Once again, I need your lovely POE images to help me daydream! I could plan my whole itinerary just by checking out all the gorgeous POE photos of Paris.

I apologize if my french is incorrect, it's been a few since my college years and I definitely needed the help of online translators!


Au revoir mes amis! Merci pour lire!

Paris in LOMO-WilliamDohman

Overview of Paris France-rebeccaplotnick

Moulin Rouge-honeytree

Sober Notre Dame-DarrylGlade

Paris Street Walk-Ketzelphotography

Afternoon at the Louvre-jocelynbaun

The Bicyclette-newamsterdam

Cupid and Psyche-hlkparis


Gingerbread House-enchantedpond

to be young-Ciao,Chessa!

Eiffel Tower-BrooklynBridge

Michelle Campbell-Zurek is an artist/photographer from the east coast who is wide-eyed and smitten with the crazy town called LA. When not on a quest to capture light and stop time, she can be found painting and ingesting gobs of sweets & tea. All are welcome to stop by the Urban Junkies Artist Lounge, as well as Michelle's photography shop, art shop and website.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mosaic Monday - Windows of the World

Whether they are opened, closed, curtained, barred or shuttered the Photographers of Etsy show you the windows to their world.

  1. Venice Window – rebeccaplotnick
  2. Hung up – elephantdreams
  3. To Alice's House We Go – JacqleenBlue
  4. Windows 101 – JeriAnnesGallery
  5. Windows to the Sky – karencaseysmith
  6. Dream Inspired Windows – HouseofSixCats
  7. Disconnected – KAWsaidTheKrowStudio
  8. Afternoon – HumanInterest
  9. Fixer Upper – Aztek721
  10. Green Shutters – JoannBristol
  11. Lanae Original – LanaePhotography
  12. Outside Looking In – PichonPhoto

Mosaic Mondays are compiled by
Patti Meyer. Patti is an award winning graphic artist who resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. See her photography collection at her shop right here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What I See: Catching a Bit of the Luck

This week is a magical week -- leprechauns frolic and play little tricks, while everyone is happy and Irish; on Friday we Northern Hemisphere residents experience a long-awaited Vernal Equinox. Spring will arrive not one moment too soon! I started thinking about what a lucky week this will undoubtedly be for all of us. It's time to put aside all our doom and gloom and our worries. Even the fountains in front of the Obama White House are spouting green water. I asked four of our POE members about their lucky encounters; specifically, I asked:

"What's the luckiest thing that's happened to you as a photographer?"

And, lo and behold I got four wonderful and different responses. Each of these unique artists has something a bit different to say about lucky moments, yet there's a common thread shared in all of their stories -- persistence, hard work, being in the right place at the right time -- from which we can all glean inspiration. Thank you for giving us this gift just in time for the arrival of spring.

Vancouver Skyline by Everyday Kumquat

Wind Personified by EverydayKumquat

The Dead Bicycle by EverydayKumquat

EverydayKumquat: The luckiest thing that's happened to me as a photographer would most likely be when a local, relatively well-known actress requested I do her headshots last year. Headshots are one of those things that are passed around a lot, and I've gotten some lovely word-of-mouth publicity. Portraiture work has become easier to come by since then.

Montage: What's the luckiest thing? That depends on what one considers as luck! Or in fact, as life has it, to rephrase, I'd ask: 'What's the best decision you've ever made as a photographer?' I'd answer: The best decision has two parts. First, I made the distinct decision to TAKE MY CAMERA, and the second part is to STAY AND WAIT! These concepts can be applied to any number of incredible photographic experiences, but here's how I learned these concepts in a profound manner:

While I was on a Federal deployment a police barricade was put up along the street I was working, and everyone said the President of the US was coming. I didn't really pay attention because I was trying to get my work done and "trying to see the President" really didn't appeal to me, since it would be a mob scene anyway. Well, as you'd have it, I couldn't get my work done anyway because everyone decided to go and "try to see the President." I returned to my car to grab my camera, as I had the distinct impression to do so, even as I was thinking to myself, "I'm not going to be anywhere near him." Still, I listened to that impression.I walked up to the police tape where there were several Federal agents and local police on one side, and I was required to stay on the other side. I heard one police officer say to me, "You're not going to get anywhere near the President, and he may not even stop here." I dismissed their thinking, and here's where the second element factors in: I decided to Stay and Wait, despite the gloomy forecast by others, barricades, mob scenes and the unlikely nature of the event. I listened to my own inner voice, which encouraged me on. Well that inspiration ended up allowing me to get a very unlikely photo of the President holding a little baby girl in his hands in a very contemplative mode, and in perfect photographic composition. CNN, the state journal, and the local press were all "on the other side" of the police tape, and guess what? They didn't get the shot! I did! Not only did I get the photo, but when the President arrived near where I was standing, he promptly put his arm around me. I ended up with a real smile, as I had just had a great moment as an artist.

As much as we plan, surmise, prepare, well, often, we really don't know what's going to happen. As photographers we should stay tuned to the best life has to offer: The Unexpected! In fact, I'd say we should expect the unexpected. As we see things this way, we will find our work has that element of "what's next" factored right into it!

I later sent a copy of the photo to President Clinton, and he sent me a nice letter of gratitude.

Tell Me Gently by risamay

The Green Door by risamay

Risamay: There are many moments and places that I feel fortunate to have captured with my camera, but one that stands out in particular is a delicious door I encountered on a tiny island in the Bay of Kotor. Having come to Croatia for two weeks before going back to Budapest for one more week, I was looking forward to doing a number of day trips from my home base in Dubrovnik. I am obsesssed with Venice, one might say, and I had my heart set on visiting the tiny town of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage site and former outpost of La Serenissima.

The weather wasn't what I'd hoped for on the designated day, overcast and drizzling a fine mist, but it was my one opportunity to see this special place, and so I set off for Kotor anyway on a chartered bus tour. Alone with my camera and strangers from all over Europe, I broke away from the pack of friendly Brits I'd attached myself to as everyone clamored into the pint-sized Church of Our Lady of the Rock. It was so beautiful outside, and as the doors to the church closed, I found myself enveloped by a stony and almost palpable peace. While I was anxious to head inside and learn the story of this artificial island and its charming little church, I couldn't help but linger a few moments more outside to study the mystic -- no, more like magical -- sea green door before me. None of my fellow tourists had given it any notice, let alone the long second look it so dramatically deserved. Surrounded by weathered white to gray blocks of stone, it was beautifully mesmerizing. Although I could have stood there studying the door indefinitely, I ultimately broke the spell by snapping two quick pics before passing inside. The church and its door remained in my mind's eye but melted or morphed into something of a surreal dream.

Back in Budapest, I returned excitedly to the Castle District, where but two weeks before I'd seen some of the most stunning wooden doors anywhere. I had in mind a particular door in dark green that I couldn't wait to see again and re-shoot. With their intricate design, larger-than-life size, and patina of peeling paint, they were an architectural travel photographer's dream. I'd been quite ill that first week in Budapest and had only had the energy to take a few test shots. But I wasn't to finish the job. In the city's haste to renovate and restore, I was horrified to find that all of the doors I'd fallen in love with only two weeks earlier were now freshly painted. No peeling. Still beautiful, but lacking the character and uniqueness that came with their aging and cracking coats. In frustration, I photographed my green door and its neighbors and went home disappointed. Until, in reviewing all of my images from four weeks abroad, I rediscovered the green door from Montenegro. If I'd taken no other pictures in that entire month, the lucky find of this special door would have been more than memory and reward enough for the trip. I thank my lucky stars that I had my camera, batteries charged, to preserve that place and that moment -- and above all that door -- for myself, my friends, for my family and for you. It's a pretty wonderful door, isn't it? It looks like luck itself, perhaps.

The Bliss Was Paralyzing by TiffanyTeske

Katie & Johnny by TiffanyTeske

Embrace Self by TiffanyTeske

TiffanyTeske: There are several ways I define luck, so I have several answers. When I was in University, studying photography, I had several "lucky" things happen to me. Now, I use quotes around lucky, because really, I feel these things happened to me as the result of hard work, and not just luck. The first involved having a duo show with another student in the school gallery. His work was color photography from a trip to Italy, and mine was a black and white documentary project I shot in Nicaragua. The next year, I had a solo show in the same gallery, a documentary I shot nearby in rural Maine. I was the first student to have group and solo shows in that gallery, previously there had only been group shows. I was lucky that the director of the photography program was a mentor to me. I also worked for William Wegman, the dog photographer, for my internship. He works in Manhattan, but summers in Rangeley, Maine, a town that was about an hour from my town. I wrote him a letter, asking to be his intern, and he said yes! I learned there is never any harm in asking, and it can pay off.

There are also those "lucky" things that happen to you as a photographer that come from someone seeing your work. One time I was contacted by a woman who was given a photo greeting card I'd made. She loved the image, of tulips, and kept it on a bulletin board for two years. She was in marketing, and when she contacted me, she was working on a website to represent and showcase rural Maine artists. She ended up hiring me to do all the photography for the site, which involved travelling to the studios of all of these artists, photographing them, and then working in the studio to photograph their work. It was amazing! I was paid VERY well, and in the end, I also had two shows in a gallery this woman opened and was represented on her website. AND, a man who worked down the hall from her was a music producer, and he hired me three different times to photograph recording sessions. My images ended up on three music albums. And I know there was more work, mostly portrait sessions, that came from that. So, ONE photo card that someone kept for two years brought me $10,000 worth of work plus many priceless work experiences.

The last way I feel I can speak to this "lucky" question is in the serendipitous things that have happened to me just because I picked up my camera and went out in the world. Those things that happen right in front of you that you never expected, and that you would never have seen if you had not gotten off your butt and went out to photograph. There are many, many of these, but some that come to mind include being in Haiti and being invited to photograph a baby just as it was born and on the same trip photographing a funeral procession as it went past our house. Also, being in Spain and photographing a peaceful march of protesting workers, and being in Sweden and photographing a wedding procession. Of course, these sorts of life events are happening all around us, and as long as we are camera ready, we can catch a bit of the luck.

What I See is compiled by Ann Wilkinson. A world traveler and self-taught photographer, look for Ann wandering around city streets and tromping through woods and hiking trails with her camera. After owning an international transportation business for many years, Ann has found her creative spirit again through the lens. See more at Ann's shop and her website, and say hello to her on her blog too.