Saturday, July 27, 2013

The One With the.... Dress Shorts?

Add this to the list of things I probably will never understand. Unless.... no. Sorry, I’ve got nothing. (If anyone has an explanation, please do share.)

And while we’re at it... other things I don’t understand (in no particular order)

the Big Stacker at Jack in the Box... pickles, mustard and onion rings?
Why Anthony Wiener is running for mayor when his talents clearly lie in another direction
Why, if your last name was Wiener, you wouldn’t change your last name
Recumbent bikes
Why people still buy any kind of computer besides Apple
Hawaiian shirts (unless you’re Magnum, P.I.)
Why I needed Algebra II
How to tie a tie
Why race-walking and trampoline are olympic sports
Why I’m even awake right now. I need sleep. More later...

Monday, July 22, 2013

The One Where She Bites the Dust

Yes, literally. I figured out a couple of nights ago that if you fall down when you are standing or walking, it hurts.

But if you fall down when you are running, you lose a whole lot of skin, and you damage things. Like shoulders. I can’t lift my right arm without crying a little on the inside. But as a friend pointed out to me last week, the body is an amazing thing. Open wounds become scabs. Scabs fall off and become scars. Bruises turn purple, green yellow, and then go away. Isn’t healing an amazing thing?

The worst thing about all the work I have been doing is that it is So. Much. Alone. Time. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some alone time. But I hate working alone all the time. Especially at night. I look forward so much to photo jobs, because it means I get to photograph people and talk and be social for a few minutes. I love the people I get to photograph. Last week at a commercial shoot for a beauty salon, one of the clients told another, “I looked at their website (meaning our Archangel Photography website), and they won’t make us look bad. In fact, they can make ugly people look good!” And then, to me: “You can even make ugly people look good, so you can make us look great, right?” My reply was, “I suppose we could. But luckily we have never photographed anyone ugly.” So true.

Well, it’s 7:39 a.m. and I  have already been at work since about 2:00 a.m. So I’m going to catch a little breakfast, and then get back to work. And heal. And, I guess... embrace the alone time. :) Anyone who wants to pop by and say hi, either here or in person, friends would be welcome. xoxo

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The One Without a Face

This post is for you. You know who you are. It’s time to get a Facebook photo. Even if it is a photo of a flower, you can do better than this:

I don’t ever again want to see this representation of you in my news feed. Take your iPhone into the bathroom and take a picture of yourself in the mirror like the 13-year-olds do. Dust off your wedding photo. Upload a picture of a flower. A flag. A political statement. Call me and I will take one for you for free. Come on, you can do this.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The One Less Pinteresting

I have not been on Pinterest in literally MONTHS. And I have to say, I don’t miss it! I am going to come right out and say it: I am not crafty. I never have been, and I never will. I love clothes WAY too much, and if I had the money for it I would buy the clothes I pin, instead of pinning them, but since I do not have the money, pinning them seems a little bit pointless. I could spend hours drooling over all the Pinterest food.... or I could just make one of the many recipes I have that I never touch because I just haven’t had much time to cook anyway. Is it really going to make my life complete if I find that One Perfect Recipe? I don’t think so. So, my Pinterest languishes in neglect. And it’s not the only thing. :) On the list for this week: Make the birthday wishes of a ten-year-old boy come true even though expenses came up over the weekend that drained my bank account. Hmm. Nintendo DS/XL is no longer an option. Any brilliant ideas? Please don’t tell me you saw something great on Pinterest!

Friday, July 5, 2013

The One With the Migraine

I know. I haven’t blogged in about a year and a half. And this morning I woke up after three hours of sleep with a migraine. My phone was on silent and when I pushed the home button it pretty much blew up with notifications. Half a dozen people texted, two phone calls, multiple questions from eBay buyers on a couple of items I’m selling, the kids wanting to make marshmallow popovers... and I have about 12 hours of photo editing to get through today. And back around to the beginning: I seem to have a migraine. So naturally, the first thought on my mind was, I should make a blog post today!

I don’t really know why I wanted to post today. Or what I should even post about. But I have had three people in the last two days tell me that they look at my blog all the time. For some reason, that made it really difficult to forget the fact that I haven’t posted in a year and a half. I will get creative another day. A day when I don't have a migraine. I could post about how much I loved World War Z. Or a recipe of some kind. I will probably avoid posting about certain things that are kind of killing me off right now. But all that can wait. I am babysitting Reeses and Jiff this afternoon so that their mom and dad can go have one of those cool 3-D ultrasounds (my birthday present to their mom).

Meanwhile, I really do have to get to work. I’m currently working on editing two different weddings. This one...

and this one.

So for now... imma take a couple of Excedrins and close my eyes for a half hour. And then imma get to work so I can finish some photos before I go to Jiff and Reese's place. And with a little motivation, hopefully this won’t be my last post for the next year and a half. xoxo

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The One With the New Website

I have spent the last couple of weeks getting my Archangel Photography website up and running... go over and check it out, here:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Head-Scratcher One

This one defies explanation. I work nights delivering about ten different kinds of newspapers. It is far more physically strenuous than I could have imagined. It is hours of bending, lifting, running, throwing... to be honest, I have been feeling pretty beaten up lately from doing it. I am trying to baby a knee as best I can, I had a black eye, and my hands just plain hurt all the time.

The last two nights have been particularly brutal due to pouring rain. Not only did I have to double-bag and seal every single paper, which added two HOURS onto the prep time before delivery, but then spent the whole rest of the night getting rained on. Now, granted, I have what they call at the warehouse a “cardio” route... two-thirds of the route is running up and down stairs and in and out of small buildings, rather than throwing from a car window. There are probably about 150 people who work in the warehouse. Predominantly men. They all dress warmly and comfortably. And then there is this woman:

Please, click on the photo to view it larger! Two nights in a row, now, I have noticed her ensemble as she pushes trolleys filled with hundreds of pounds of papers, and then presumably sets out on her delivery route. LOOK AT HER SHOES!!! Six-inch stilettos. And this, on the two of the rainiest nights ever! Someone please explain this to me!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The One That Needs Your Prayers

This is the Milne family.

They are completely amazing and even if they had perfectly ordinary children they would find ways to make life extraordinary. But they have exceptional children. Bela, in particular is a miracle. I remember when Avery was pregnant with Bela, and we heard that she had been diagnosed with a rare congenital heart condition. She was born on Leap Day... February 29th, 2008, despite the doctors’ prognosis that she would not even survive that long. She has hypoplastic left heart syndrome and Classic Turner Syndrome.

This is Bela! What a miracle she is.

Today Bela is undergoing what I believe is her third scheduled major open heart surgery. Her parents are waiting anxiously for details from a waiting room at the hospital. First, you should take an hour and read through some of Avery’s blog, here. I have known Avery since she was very small herself... and the revelation is that she has turned out to be the most amazing mother EVER. The thoughts and feelings and impressions she shares are honest, sometimes painful, and ultimately, so uplifting. Second, if you feel so inclined, say a prayer for this great family on such a trying day in their lives.

The One With the Couture Faux Pas

I love clothes. I will admit that I have spent more money on clothes in my life than I probably should have. I love how a beautifully cut garment can make your good features better and downplay less desirable ones. I love the way something that is just the right color and cut makes you feel beautiful. I will further admit that a $200 pair of jeans does actually make your butt look better than a $30 pair.

My personal philosophy on dressing is best expressed by the costume designer Edith Head, who won eight academy awards (more than any other designer). “Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.” Hear, hear, Edith!

Enter couture clothing designer Giambattista Valli. I happened to spot one of these designs on my Statcounter sidebar, and I was so very struck by its ugliness that I really couldn’t help following the link to see more. I know I am about to reveal my lack of sophistication.

This coat was the one that caught my eye:

There are so many things that I couldn't help but notice. First, that the shape was designed to be unflattering to virtually any size or shape of woman. Second, it is oddly constructed of different fabrics and trims that could have come from my grandma’s sewing reject cupboard. Thirdly, there is an odd crease down the front that makes it look like it has been folded in half for storage, and they didn’t have time to press it before the photo shoot. The last thing I noticed was only apparent when I actually clicked through to the Bergdorf Goodman website. This less-than-delectable creation can be yours for the bargain price of $4,690.00. Don’t all rush to their website at once, now...

And then I spotted another delightful addition to your wardrobe:

The perfect dress to go with your new jacket! And this little gem is only $3,716.00! Are you breast-less? Barrel-shaped? This one is for YOU! You don’t need to thank me. Thank Giambattista Valli.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The One With the Nude Photos

Yep, I took my first nude photos today...

It’s one a.m. and I’m way too tired for anymore editing, but in a couple of days I’ll post some highlights. The best ones I took were of the three of them... mom, dad, baby T... and I learned a ton.

And I remembered how totally amazing babies are. Wow.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The One From Way Back

This is the photo that made me fall in love with photography. I took it nineteen years ago. Black and white film in a manual-focus Canon. I was trying so hard to get everyone to look at the camera and cooperate. I didn’t even know what lighting was. The baby had an ear infection and was really grumpy. When I opened the Rainbow Photo envelope, I pulled out the 36 prints and started sorting through them like a mad person. Did I capture that perfect shot?

And then I saw it. It wasn’t what I expected. But it was perfect. A metaphor for my life as a 28-year-old mom with five little boys. Messy and chaotic. Like my dad would have said, it was like herding cats... everyone going a different direction. And right in the middle of it, Kevin looking right at the camera, serene. It was a little bit of magic.

Do I miss the days of film cameras? NO. I LOVE my digital camera. I love being able to instantly see on my camera if my lighting is looking the way I want. I love not having to print my photo shoot in order to see if I got any great shots. I love being able to edit my photos digitally.

You would think that it would have taken me a lot less than 19 years to get to where I am with my photos. I need to spend more time learning about settings and the technical aspect of photography. But that photo 19 years ago was the beginning. It lit a creative fire that still burns to find those special shots... the ones that connect people. I’m doing my first newborn baby photo shoot this afternoon. I’m a little nervous because they have to be taken indoors and the lighting is going to be an issue. Posing will be a new challenge. Props... yikes. But I can’t wait. I love a challenge. Oh! And by next week my photography website will be up and running. I’ll keep you posted.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The One That Reminds You to Keep Going

I ran across this little video this morning. It is just typography clips that go with a small excerpt of a speech by Ira Glass, who is an amazing NPR personality. I guess it really spoke to me because I have been trying to figure out where to go with my music right now, and last week I kind of decided to go nowhere. I have been in a holding pattern. What I have been making isn’t current enough for my music partner, lucrative enough for my time, or as good as I know I can do... and so I realized it was time to stop trying, because I am too frustrated with me vs. everything. This little message by Ira Glass makes me rethink that somewhat. It kind of came out of nowhere. Does this speak to anyone but me?

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The One With the Love Challenge

I was looking through my photos trying to pick one to enter in the “Rock the Shot” February challenge, which is LOVE. I found a lot of photos that I really loved, but this one just jumped out at me because I love the exuberance with which Alex loves Christina. I didn’t use any Photoshop actions on this one. The only processing I used was to apply a texture. I thought about just leaving it alone, but when I applied the texture I loved the way it took away the white space in the upper half of the photo and just focused all the attention on Alex’s face. Happy month of love!

P.S. You can check out Rock the Shot here:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The One With the Curry and the Pregnant Lady

I just finished editing a photo shoot I did on Saturday for Andrew and Stephanie. I like to tell people I was the best man at their wedding. Because I was. And now they are expecting baby Tanner in about a week! So these are a few of the highlights. Oh, and the curry? That’s what we had for dinner afterwards. I had mine with shrimp and and lots of HOT.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Noisy One

Church was loud yesterday. Not like rock band loud or anything, just Mormon loud. Babies crying, toddlers talking. It kind of sounded like we were sitting in the zoo section. And I loved it. I thought it was perfectly awesome.

We had this lady named Sister Richards who went to our church when I was growing up, and whenever a baby would cry she would turn around and glare at the parents as though they had ruined her Sunday entirely. I vowed I would never do that. And I don’t. If someone wants me to walk around with their unruly baby or toddler, I am happy to help, but if it sounds like someone is on fire behind me, I will not turn around and stare. They are going to have to tap me on the shoulder. I am no Sister Richards. :) I spent too many years with a pack of rowdy toddler boys to forget this quickly.

My sister Wendy told the story of an older lady in their ward who sat down in front of her very young, irreverent family one Sunday. About midway through the meeting, when they had reached a fever pitch of disgust for having to sit in a boring meeting for an hour and a half, the lady turned around. Wendy felt terrible for the commotion and was struggling to quiet everyone down, and the lady whispered to her: “Two words: Dime. Tapp.” Haha!

I am all for reverence, but I am also all for toddlers. Sometimes the two don’t see eye-to-eye, and if I have to choose, I’m backing the toddlers every single time.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Vintage One

This has been such a busy week. I am working days, nights... and anywhere else I can squeeze in an odd job! I’ve also decided to start working on some new songs. I have been waiting around, but time is a’ wasting. Meanwhile.... I have been ramping up my photog business and getting as many new jobs as I can. I had two back-to-back on Saturday for Mission Viejo High School’s Winter Formal, and by the time I got back for the second one, it was getting dark. But the subject, 14-year-old Allie, was way fun. She and some other freshmen were going without dates to the dance as friends, and Allie had her hair done in a vintage 40s style, and she did her makeup to match. I had a blast snapping a few quick shots before the sun fled the scene entirely...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The One With the Project 24 Challenge

I love Florabella, and I love this challenge:

My first entry (they don’t have to go in order) is #14, a Faceless Portrait.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

The One With Resolution #4

Spend more time on Pinterest. Why? Because it makes me happy. WARNING: If you have never visited Pinterest, do not (and I repeat, DO NOT) click on the above link. You have been warned.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The One That Fell Flat

So I learned something this week. Substituting bulgur wheat for regular whole wheat in my bread recipe does not work. Dillon made a batch of bread with it a few days ago, which turned out flat and lumpy. So a couple of days ago, I tried it. The dough was the consistency of Play-Dough and I knew it was not going to turn out well. So yesterday, being out of the nice soft white wheat I most like to bake with, I went ahead and made a batch of white bread. You can see my bulgur wheat effort, next to the perfect white loaf.

Apparently bulgur wheat has been parboiled and dried. I’m not sure how that affects the bread, but I did notice that there was no elasticity to the dough... the gluten did not develop as it kneaded. Oh well, you live and learn. I let Skippy give away a loaf to a neighbor family (the good batch, not the short lumpy one) and he said, “Mrs. Keely says she has never ever had homemade bread before.” And then this morning I got a text from Cambria’s seminary teacher, asking me to bring a treat. I offered cinnamon rolls or homemade bread with honey butter, and the immediate response was homemade bread! So much easier. So I’ll be making another batch today.

If you haven’t tried my go-to bread recipe, you should. It is seriously the easiest bread to make. Here is the recipe, which I haven’t posted in awhile... and I happen to think that the loaf pans make a huge difference, and I use the 1-lb. size of these:

Magic Loaf Pans

Victoria’s Six-Minute Magic Bread

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The One With Resolution #3

Take more photos. Okay, not even remotely specific enough. So here are my very specific goals for 2012 with regards to photography.

1. Take a few photos every week. I have some cool ones in mind for next week. Here is one of my favorites from last month:

2. Photograph a wedding. I have shied away from this in the past, but I really think I would like to do it. Maybe a two-camera shoot. I love doing engagement photos, and this is the next logical step.

3. Before this year is over, I want a new camera bag. A girlie camera bag. This is my Tyrannosaurus Rex of a bag. I hate it so much. It is hard to open and close. It is ugly. It is an ergonomic nightmare, as it can not ever lay close to the body, fit nicely under my arm, or strap comfortably over the shoulder. It is impossible to carry while actually shooting photos, and so is constantly being left under some tree somewhere, and when I travel by plane, I find myself placing my nice camera body and lenses in an unpadded handbag or backpack not even remotely protective enough for the job. It is 15x9x9 inches, and unless the buckles are fastened, the Velcro is not strong enough to hold the bag closed when I pick up the strap:

But here is the bag I have been thinking about: the B Hobo Bag by Kelly Moore. What’s the holdup, you ask? About $170. Ugh. I can’t justify it when there are so many other things to pay for, and I am always the last to get a present. That is how it always is for moms. But I can dream, right? It would make #1 above so much easier if I had an easy bag to grab when I was heading out the door!

I really like the Mustard color, but I don’t think it’s me, exactly. I think the one that really does it for me is the Red, due in no small part to the video on the Kelly Moore website... I can never resist a music video. I defy you to watch this and NOT covet the bag in red...

Kelly Moore Bag Promo Film 2010 from Joshua Smith on Vimeo.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The One With Resolution #2

I’ve been thinking about this one for awhile. Trying to decide. But here we go. Once a week I’m going to give a loaf of bread to someone. I don’t know who (to whom?). But no one doesn’t love homemade bread. Also, my family at home has shrunk, and we don’t go through three loaves as quickly as we used to!

A lot of nice people have done a lot of nice things for me over the past year. I have been in hibernation mode... working a lot and saying “no” a lot more than I usually do. This is going to be a year of saying “yes” as often as I can, and trying to get outside myself a little. So starting tomorrow... a loaf a week. If you know someone who really needs a loaf, feel free to nominate them... there are 51 weeks of bread left in the year.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The One With Resolution #1

I am not a big fan of “New Year’s resolutions.” I am not opposed to goal-setting, but I prefer to do that throughout the year. This year, though, I am going to throw a few out there. One a day... until I just get bored.

So for today:

New Year’s Resolution #1. Take longer showers.

Yes, I know that is not very green of me. Trabuco Canyon Water District does not appreciate it. Al Gore just got a little grumpier, without even knowing why. But I deserve it. At least an extra minute of nice hot water, Spotify music pouring out of my phone, fogging up the mirrors, no one bugging me.

I think this one could stick. And for a little touch of irony, I pulled that little shower illustration off the Alliance for Water Efficiency website. You’re welcome.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The One With Roxy Ann

Just happened to see this photo on Facebook tonight. My nephew Elijah posted it of his grandpa... my dad. He is holding Roxy Ann, the golden retriever puppy he bought my mom to keep her company just a couple of months before he died of cancer. It has been three years, and it surprised me how heartbroken I have felt all night after seeing this photo. I miss him so much, and I wish he could see all the things I have done this past year. He would have loved 2011.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The One With New Year’s, Timeline and the Selfie

Happy New Year! And guess what? I am posting again! It has only been about a week. I’m trying to get back into the swing of blogging. And I actually finished a book I started about four months ago! I feel like a new person. New Year, new person... and Facebook (yes, another Facebook post) rolled out their new “Timeline” profiles. Everyone will probably complain because no one likes change, but I happen to think this one is pretty cool. You can look at your life on a timeline and add events, locations on a map and photos to highlight it. It also lets you click on a year in the past and read what was happening on your Facebook then... so if you have some old boyfriend lurking in 2007, best to delete delete delete. And the good news is, you can. Once you click to change over to the new Timeline format, you have seven days before your profile goes live to the world, in order to make any changes you like and clean all the skeletons out of your closet.

One of the cool features of the new Timeline is that it gives you a big photo that they call your Cover Photo, with a smaller inset profile photo. The Cover Photo is really a banner like you would use at the top of your blog or on a website. I decided before my Timeline went live at the first of the year that I wanted a cover photo that would represent me and my interests. I couldn’t figure out a way to represent my music. I tried a couple of different things and didn’t like them. I have been doing a lot of photos for people lately, so I figured I would put up a cover photo that showed my photography.

But I didn’t have anyone to take the photo, so I took it myself. Here is the raw photo. (Yes, I am showing you my raw photo!) P.S. If you want to see up close what I am doing to this one, you can click on each photo to see it full-size.

Now, to fix the problems. First, the photo was taken by the camera in the photo, using a mirror. So the photo had to be reversed. Secondly it was taken in my bedroom, and to get the morning light coming in the window I had to face the French doors, which put the smoke detector and bedroom doors in the photo. Had to at least minimize that.

Then fix any major facial flaws... had a little acne going on, especially on my forehead... and then the fun part. Adding a Photoshop action. I tried a few different ones. It is interesting how once you find a photoshop action that flatters the subject, it usually works on most of their pictures really nicely. For me, Starlet from Florabella was magic. Brightened everything up, added a cool center light and burned the edges a bit. Only thing I don’t totally care for was that it burned my outside arm along with the edges, which makes it look kind of red and chapped. Could have fixed that, but I didn’t really care, especially since my arm doesn’t even show on the Facebook Timeline... the photos are cropped wide and short.

Oh, and the finishing touch. A cool ornament for the corner. :)

AND it goes along with two of my resolutions:

1. Take more photos

2. Spend less time straightening my hair. :)