Seattle Was Amazing

Last weekend I attended my first Click Away. What can I say; Seattle was amazing. During my time in Seattle, I was fortunate enough to take Jennifer Carr's workshop "Uncovered Beauty". One of the first things Jennifer shared during the workshop is to pay attention to our surroundings. I agree, we often times 'run' through life without noticing the beauty around us. On Sunday morning, I got up really early to shoot some long exposure images. It was the first morning it did not rain in Seattle. That made me so happy. After taking a quick shower, I grabbed my tripod and camera to explore sleeping Seattle. And I am glad that I did.

I so wanted to photograph the Space Needle, but previous attempts fell flat. Until the said morning. Actually I was ready to return to the hotel as I was getting cold and needed some hot coffee. (Can you believe that in Seattle Starbucks does not open until 6:30 on Sundays?!?). As I was walking back frustrated, I turned my head to the right. And it was...the Space Needle!!! I was so giddy that I forgot that I was cold. I walked up the street a little, set-up my tripod in the bike lane, and clicked away...

So, here is the shot of the Space Needle...and I am very happy that it turned out.


I am so thankful that I took Jennifer's workshop. She reminded me to slow down and look around me. If Jennifer wouldn't have shared this wisdom, the shot would have never happened. There is still so much I have to mentally process from this amazing trip. My hope is that will share more over the comping weeks on where I want to go with my photography. CM, I am thankful that you have put this workshop together

"Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still." - Chinese Proverb

Thank you for stopping by today. Until next time - keep smiling.

Iris (TGTG)

The Art of Macro Photography

I wanted to write about different light sources, but I have fallen short with that series. Instead, I have been embarking on The Art of Macro Photography journey with the talented Tiffany Kelly of Tiffany Kelly Photography. I have always loved macro photography and actually purchased a macro lens about 2 years ago. However, I was not able to work with it properly and the lens collected dust :( . First I thought that the lens was not working properly; come to find out it was operator error. Honestly, macro photography is indeed an art form and you need to forget a lot of things in order to grow in it.

I am so thankful that Tiffany is teaching this course on Click Photo School (formerly known as CM University). Although we are only half way through the course, I have learned a lot...and still need to learn a lot more. Next week we will be learning about lighting our images; I am looking forward to that.

Here are some of the images I took last week and I will show you a pull back so that you see how tiny my subject actually was:


Tamron 90mm Macro Lens - SS 1/320 - f6.3 - ISO 1,600


Tamron 90mm Macro Lens - SS 1/160 - f6.3 - ISO 1,600


Tamron 90mm Macro Lens - SS 1/1,600 - f6.3 - ISO 1,000


Tamron 90mm Macro Lens - SS 1/320 - f6.3 - ISO 1,600


Tamron 90mm Macro Lens - SS 1/600 - f6.3 - ISO 1,000

Pull Back (using a third-hand tool): Mum-Macro_Pull-Back-copy

Tamron 90mm Macro Lens - SS 1/400 - f6.3 - ISO 1,000

Like I said many times before: no matter how long you photograph or you think you don't need to grow, think again. I have to say that I am thankful for communities like Clickin Moms. It is a great and safe environment to learn and grow. Although I was rejected to their pro program last year, I will give it another try this year. Maybe 2016 will be my year.

Thank you for stopping by today. Until next time - keep smiling Iris :) (TGTG)

Setting Goals

The people who know me for a while, know that I don't do New Years resolutions. However, I am all about setting goals that I want to accomplish over a year. This year seems to be different; I am actually driven on fire to accomplish better things in my photography journey. So, what are more goals in regards of my photography? I have been working through this free e-book "Beyond the Technical: Growing your Photography through Practice". This resource has been very helpful to me in regards evaluating my photography and where I want to be at the end of 2016.

One of my goals is to finally learn to shoot with the Marco lens properly. I was doing it all wrong...who knew? My first step in archiving that goal is taking another workshop. I am very excited about this workshop taught by photographer Tiffany Kelly through CMU.

But the workshop is only the first step of archiving better Marco shots. I want to shoot daily and get the hang of making some amazing photographs. You see, daily practice is one thing that we should do as a photographers.

My point: I always had issues shooting with my Lensbaby Pro - Sweet 35 optics. But last year, I took my camera and shot one afternoon with the lens. No swapping lenses. To tell you the truth, I loved that experiment and the LB - Sweet 35 has become one of my favorite lenses to work with. Yes, it is tricky and I still have a lot to learn, but it is fun to challenge myself.

Here are a couple shots that I took with the LB/Sweet 35 last year, and one from this past weekend, adding a Marco converter to it...


LB/Sweet 35 - ISO 800 - 1/320


LB/Sweet 35 - ISO 500 - 1/160


LB/Sweet 35 with Macro Converter - ISO 400 - 1/50

Do you have any photography goals set for this year? If so, I would love to hear about your goals.

"Taking a shot every day is going to really train you to see better and look for great images, but if you ramp things up and challenge yourself by trying new lighting styles, different photography genres or post-production styles you will really accelerate your growth." ~ Gina Milicia

Thank you for stopping by today...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)