Tag Archives: Experience

Learning More Than Just Lighting

It’s funny how inspiration strikes in the most unlikely places.

When I walked into the Creative Live course, The Lighting Challenge: Natural vs. Studio, I expected to learn how to use Studio lighting in a way that wasn’t harsh or difficult. The reason I have stayed away from studio lighting all this time is that I have never really liked the way it looks. Natural light has always been my preference for it’s ability to really help a subject shine.

During the course, I went through an internal roller-coaster. I was excited to be in the same room as two of the photographers I admire most, and giddy to be surrounded by talented classmates. Then, I started to see how these industry experts are really just not afraid to experiment and play with light.

Sue Bryce and Felix Kunze are just like everyone else. But, they have made choices that help them shine. Their work is full of beauty and passion for capturing light. I left the class inspired…

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Our lovely Co-Host and the Producer.
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Sue working her magic with natural light.
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Using “Mac Gyver” lighting for a Hollywood shoot.
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The best part of sitting in the front row of class wast this perspective!
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Felix and Sue taught the course together, and here they are listening to comments from the online students.
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My fan-girl pose.
Group photo: students, instructors, behind the scenes crew.
Group photo: students, instructors, behind the scenes crew.

When I came home at the end of the class, I could not wait to play with studio light. All the following day, I was floating with creative excitement. Then, late last night, I was dropped back down into my life and the struggle that lives in our neighborhood. You see, we have a neighborhood email group. There is an anonymous person who has been posting phone-photos that complain about how broken our neighborhood is and is using them to point fingers.

And that’s when the internal light bulb went on inside of me. No matter where you are in life, your age, address or job, you have the power to choose what you focus on with your thoughts and actions. You can choose to see the dark, ugliness, and soon that is all that you will see. Or, you can choose to see the light, the beauty and the progress.

For me personally, I have sat and looked at my work with a very critical eye. I have allowed myself to feel stuck because I don’t have a studio or I’m not making a living with photography. But, no more. I am going to focus on the light. To do that, I am re-launching my Cause, and renaming it, “Seattle Shines.”

Nathan Vass is a fellow Seattle photographer, and working with him, we will now not only focus on capturing the landscape of neglected Seattle neighborhoods, but the people who are shining a light and making a difference.

I am too practical to not realize that this won’t stop people from littering, breaking into cars and vandalizing the community garden shed, but it’s something I can do to help inspire change and celebrate the people who are doing it.

. . .

Stepping off of my soap-box now, and thank you for listening.



Unexpected Benefit to Eating Better: Losing Weight

Mark (at left) having a Beer at a family BBQ.

My cousin, Mark, is like the other brother I never had. We don’t talk for like 3 months or more sometimes, but when we do it never feels odd to catch up where ever we left off.  We talked a week ago about his upcoming wedding. Among the logistics and excitement he had to share, there was something I didn’t expect to hear: He lost weight – 25lbs. in about a month and a half. I haven’t seen him in like a year and a half. He didn’t look like he needed to lose any weight, but like me, he has a slender frame. I guess he carries his extra weight well. So, how and why did he drop the pounds? No, it was not because he wants to look pretty for his beach side wedding.

Why: His mother recently had heart surgery, and it dawned on him that at almost 33 years old he needed to start taking care of his health.

How:  He and his Fiance stopped eating Fast Food, drinking Soda Pop, and drink Alcohol much less. They drink lots more water, snack on veggies and fruit and try to make more food at home. The biggest dietary change for my cousin is drinking only 2-3 Beers a month. He was no budding alcoholic, but did enjoy a beer with dinner regularly. They also joined a Gym, but are not training for any Triathlons. He’s pleasantly surprised by his weight loss, and even more so to see his Psoriasis disappear.

I am truly happy for him. Our call ended, and then I realized that I forgot to share that my husband and I have lost some weight too. It’s something that has really just crept up on us without consciously trying. We changed our eating habits the most last September/October after deciding to try a different approach to cure our daughter’s constipation. I didn’t notice the change right away.

My Mom and Step-Dad visited us earlier this month. We hadn’t seen them since Thanksgiving. One of the first things my Step-Dad said was, “Looks like everyone’s lost weight.” I hadn’t noticed that about everyone before. I knew that I had gone down a pant size, and was a little bit irked. I vented about that already.

Me and my husband in September.

I was happy with my weight in September. It wasn’t my pre-baby making weight, but with my slender-boyish build, I liked the extra curves. So, how much weight have I lost? 15lbs. I am back to my old weight, but not my old build – making babies did give me boobs.

My husband has lost weight too. We don’t know how much, because we don’t really use a scale. But, he’s lost his Computer Geek Belly Pooch. He needs new pants, at least a size down. No, he’s not a boxer showing, plumber’s crack guy. But, he needs a belt.

Our kids have grown taller, but that was expected. Our son now outweighs his little sister. He looks thicker, more solid. Our daughter lost her “Trucker Belly” as several folks pointed out in a “oh, isn’t that cute” sort of way. She hasn’t lost weight, but has gained less than her brother.

How did we change our eating habits? Honestly, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the way we ate before. But, it seems our daughter doesn’t handle dairy or most animal protein well. So, we had a reason a very good reason to make some changes.

What changed: We stopped buying snacks (even Organic, “healthy” ones), going to Starbucks (except when on a Road Trip, because they are so much nicer, cleaner and more comfortable than a Rest Stop), reduced our grain intake (less bread, pasta, etc), reduced our dairy and meat (removed all processed meats even naturally made sausage), and the biggest change for us is to eat a LOT more vegetables which helps to make up the difference in our diet. It hasn’t been easy as you may have already read here.

We’ve reached the goal of this dietary change: Our daughter now poops almost daily. Losing weight was just a bonus.

No, I don’t think everyone needs to eat just like we do. My cousin is an example of someone who’s just eating better and taking care of himself. I didn’t ask him if he’s buying Organic food or making everything from scratch. If he asks me about that, then I’ll be more than happy to explain why I do.