Not Good Enough?

White Daisy - not good enough On Monday I shared on my FB photography page that I missed the mark again. I submitted my portfolio to be accepted to the CM Click Pro Program. This was my second attempt. However my work was not good enough for the program. To say that I was discouraged is an understatement. I cried on and off all day. It took 13 months to have the guts to try again. And it took 6 months to put the body of work together.

I felt miserable because of the failure and second rejection. For me this program means that I can call myself a legit photographer. My friend and mentor, Jennifer Carr of Jennifer Carr Photography said something to me that will stick in my mind for years to come.

"I know you feel like that (validation) would come from CM, but the only person who can validate that is you. YOU need to believe in yourself like we all believe in you."

This past week I felt every emotion there is. I need to take Jennifer's advice to heart and really start to believe in my work. Maybe I should put on a sticky note that I am a legit photographer. It is hard to do that when you have been rejected twice to a program that is close to the heart. The difference between making it and not, is only 2 points! So close, yet so far.

Will I try again for a third time? At this time I do not know because the hurt is still too fresh. But then again, I have come too far and worked hard to give up on the goal. What I can say is this right now: I will not give up photography. I may not be good enough for this particular program, however I am still a good photographer. Along this journey I have discovered that I have a determination within me, that I did not know I had :) .

The encouragement and support that I received from the photography community was incredible. One of my photography friends sent me a link to this article by David duChemin (warning: little colorful language in the post). His words are right on. We will get hurt once we decide to put our work out there, however that should not deter us from sharing our work.

So, what is next for me personally? First up will be my gig as an alumni helper in Tiffany's workshop "The Art of Macro Photography". In October I will be attending Click Away in Seattle where I will be taking more workshops, connect with other photographers, and be inspired by some incredible artists like Caroline Jensen who will speak about "Nurturing Your Visual Voice".

Iris (TGTG)

More Macro Images - Favorites

As I was sharing last month in this post, I took Tiffany Kelly's "The Art of Macro Photography" workshop through CM's Click Photo School. Today I wanted to share some more macro images with you; actually my favorite to date. All images are taken with the 90mm Tamron Macro Lens. Mini-Carnation-copy

SS: 1/160 - f6.3 - ISO 1600


SS: 1/160 - f6.3 - ISO 1600


SS: 1/1000 - f8.0 - ISO 1000


SS: 1/640 - f7.1 - ISO 1600


SS: 1/800 - f6.3 - ISO 800


SS: 1/1600 - f7.1 - ISO 1000


SS: 1/320 - f6.3 - ISO 1600


SS: 1/160 - f6.3 - ISO 1600

Macro photography has become my own little place of peace. I don't have to drive somewhere to take the photographs. I can even wander out in to my backyard early in the morning. The soft morning light is amazing and I am thankful that my friend and mentor, Jennifer Carr, challenged me to seek different light.

Next time you find yourself in a rut, try something new. Take a photography workshop online, or a class at the location community college. Trust me, trying something new will get you out of a rut in no time. You may even find a new passion, like I did with macro photography.

Until next time, keep smiling :) ... Iris (TGTG)

Considering the Light - Low Light

Over the next few weeks, I want to share about considering the light. Of course as photographers, we always consider the light. I personally like to shoot with natural light. However, one of my weaknesses is shooting in low light. The other day I was trying to get a picture of one of our dogs relaxing on the sofa. Our living room is facing the north side, so not much natural light comes in. I took several attempts on photographing my little 'girl' sleeping, but I kept coming up short. I could have deleted the last photo I took as well as the others, but I thought to keep it to share it with you.

Low light is tricky to handle. You have to slow down your shutter speed and increase the ISO for the lens to let enough light in to capture the scene. My settings for the shot below were: ISO 4,000, Shutter Speed @ 1/80 of a second, and my aperture was maxed out at 1.8 on my 28mm lens.

Here is the RAW image:


I processed the image in Lightroom in color and in B&W. After I did the initial adjustments in LR, I still took it into Photoshop to clean it up a little. Although LR has a cloning tool, I am better with cloning out items in Photoshop.



What could I have done differently to get a better shot in low light? Many things! I could have slowed down my shutter speed even more, because the dog was sleeping. I could have rested the camera on the table in front of me to slow down the shutter speed and still get a clear picture. I could have opened up the blinds to let in more light. But I didn't. I know now better for the next time :).

I love learning to deal with different light situations and a great resource for it is Erin Hensley's "Finding the Light". If you currently are not subscribing to Erin's FB page, I highly encourage you to do so. She is one of the master's finding and reading the light.

“You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great." - Zig Ziglar

Thank you for stopping by today. Next Sunday I will write about flat light. Flat light is frowned upon, but it has its place in photography. Until next time...keep smiling.

Iris (TGTG)

Why Shooting Intentionally?

Last night as I was browsing through the CM Forum, I came across a great question: What does shooting with intention actually mean? The funny thing is that yesterday I went out in the morning to intentionally shoot with my Edge80. But I think that shooting with intention actually means a lot more than choosing a specif lens or shooting in a certain area. My photography friend, Jennifer Carr, challenged me last month to shoot in different light situations. You see, I used to shoot always in early afternoon light, with harsh shadows. I felt comfortable doing it and I spent time with my beloved. Shooting in soft light (early morning or before sunset), opened up a new adventure for me. I have to think before taking a shot. What works, what does not work. I think that we always need to learn to get better at the craft we love. Be it cooking, knitting, or photography. Practice is the key.

There is another thought on shooting with intention. We need to watch for what we include and exclude in the frame. On my way out of the Riparian Preserve, I saw a bench in sunlight and some leading lines. I was excited, because I love leading lines. As I was crouching down though, I saw a trash can that was distracting. Here is the first shot I took with the trash can in view:


Edge80 - f16 - 1/640 - ISO 250

After evaluating the situation, I moved over a couple of inches to exclude the trash can from the view. I could have used the first shot and cloned it out in post processing. However, I am not good at cloning in Photoshop. It takes time and precision. I don't have the patience for that. So here is the second shot without the trash can:


Edge80 - f16 - 1/640 - ISO 250

You see, I still have almost the same picture, with the leading lines, but I excluded the trash can, now hidden behind the tree.

So, next time you are out and about photographing, think about what you want included or excluded in the frame.

Thanks for stopping by today...Until next time, keep smiling.

Iris (TGTG)

Shooting from the Heart

Last night as I was pulling out one of my favorite books for my Lenten reflection, a bookmark fell out. Not any bookmark; a bookmark that I made many years ago from one of my photographs. I was floored, to say the least. I didn't remember that I made cool stuff at one point. What I realized though is that I lost something very important in my photography journey: shooting from the heart. Although I have hugely improved (technically) from 2007, I am missing that I just shot what I loved and what made my heart sing. I know it is still in my heart, however I need to unclutter it from all the technical things that I have learned over the years.

Understanding light, the exposure triangle, and clean processing is important in the digital world. However I personally have forgotten the joy that it used to bring. Now, when I see a scene, I always second guessing myself. I am concerned about composition, light, exposure, and forget to take the shot.

When I started with digital photography I took shots that inspired me. I wasn't concerned about what others think about my photography. I loved what I was doing. Last year I was rejected in several places and wanted to put down my camera for good. as a creative outlet for me. I sit in a cube from Monday through Friday, so my heart aches to do something just for me. Something that brings joy in the mundane world of accounting. Last August, I took an online workshop that was talking about heart and vision. I saw little glimpses of my passion and vision during that workshop. However, that was not enough to really rekindle my passion.

Today, as I was formatting images from the past, I made a commitment to myself: shoot again without hesitation. Shoot from the heart and what inspires me. I don't want to be consumed what others think and say. Yes, I want to do it correctly, but I don't want the technical stuff get in the way of my passion.

Here are some images from the past and one image that I took this morning after formatting the old photographs:


Date: 11/08/08 - ISO: 640 - f5.6 - 1/250 - 235mm


Date: 09/05/09 - ISO: 200 - f4.5 - 1/500 - 50mm


Date: 03/13/10 - ISO: 800 - f5.6 - 1/15 - 250mm


Date: 02/10/16 - ISO: 640 - f22 - 1/40 - Edge80

Thank you for stopping by today...Remember: do not loose the passion and vision you have for your own photography journey. The passion is what drives us and made us pick up the camera in the first place.

Until next time, keep smiling.

Iris (TGTG)