Friday, August 21, 2009

Learning to see and penmanship

It is important for any photographer to learn to see both with and without the camera.  After all, don't you see what you want before you even put the camera up to your face?  I do.  I have learned a lot from my mother who is an artist.  She has taught me to see.  I have also learned a lot from taking drawing and painting classes. Both required me to see in a different way.  Photography requires me to imagine what the camera could do.  Painting requires me to readjust reality to suit the composition of the art not the other way around.  Both disciplines require different ways to see the world.  It is very helpful to start to realize that the world can be seen in more than one way.  Not all art is created through the same process.  I am currently working to improve how I see by practicing a little bit of penmanship.  I hope to improve my ability to create consistent and accurate shapes.  Drawing is another way to pop open the brain and to evoke creativity.  One of the ways my mother taught me to get to the ability to draw is to focus on simple shapes through penmanship.  Not just writing, but really trying to create good, consistent shapes.  I am retraining my brain to see the world through my hands.  

Monday, August 10, 2009

Getting to know your camera

There are simple things you need to know about your video camera.  This list is not exhaustive but it gives you a general idea of where to start.

How long your battery is good
How to focus
Set white balance
Set your audio levels
Adjust your iris
Adjust your zoom speed (if you are going to use it, not everybody uses zoom.)
Shutter speed (not all cameras allow you to adjust this.)
How to navigate through the menus
How to find the histogram.
If it also takes stills, how to use that function.
Where are your Zebras?  How do you set those?
Set time/date.
The settings for your LCD screen/viewfinder.  You can often adjust for the camera operator's eyes, for example my Dad is near sighted and wears glasses, well, I'm not and I have to readjust the camera for my eyes.

Also, its really good to know how to get back into manual mode quickly if you have a need for it such as a sporting event or news event that you want to cover.  For example, maybe you are at the park getting a talking head interview and all of a sudden there is a UFO in the sky over head.  You might want to switch to auto focus when focusing on infinity to get that UFO nicely crisp.  Well, you get the idea.

Other things you might want to know are what kind of other devices can you hook up to and replay your video on.  You might want to google what those jacks are and what they really do.  Its very cool to know your gear.  There is no shame in being very geeky.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Beginner's Photography Kit

Here is a brief list of the things I keep in my photography kit for short day trips:

1. Camera body
2. Lenses
3. Filters
4. Lens pen/papers
5. White sheet of paper or something else for white balancing
6. Model release forms
7. Business cards 
8. Small floppy set of elephant ears or something that you can soften hot spots with

Non-camera stuff:

1. Water
2. Hat
3. Sunscreen
4. Money both paper money and about 3-4 dollars in quarters
5. A clean towel
6. Snacks in a small cooler with ice packs
7. Small first aide kit
8. Charged cell phone
9. GPS if you have one and a map book.  They are different, I recommend having both.
10.  Small notebook for jotting down ideas.
11.  Cheap digital watch (if you destroy it you won't care)
12. Change of clothes.  I know that seems like a lot, but if you end up knee deep in horse poop you might want to change!

One more thing, maybe a blanket to keep in the car, thats easily washed.  Gum/breath mints for after the taco break.  And, baby wipes.  

Thats the ideas I have, I'm sure that there are always other ideas, so feel free to post comments.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Big Kites!

Berkeley Kite Festival!Who, What, Where

Kite Festival

What a fun day!  May I just say, it is so much fun to be at the kite festival in Berkeley.  It was awesome!  There were Japanese kite makers.  There was food including Ben & Jerry's, Vegan, barbecue chicken, hot dogs, pretzels, and kettle korn.  There were so many children!  Everywhere!  There were stroller backups!  I had a blast taking video and photographs of everything.  It was very windy, sunny, and cool.  I was very lucky, I got to park close and only had to pay 10$.  There were choreographed kite ballets.  This is very serious business.  This includes music.  There was a dj/emcee.  There were vendors with hats, tee shirts, and jewelry.  Be sure to bring a blanket to sit on, sunglasses, sunscreen and water.  I am sure that I got some footage to add to my portfolio, I certainly got some great practice in.  I noticed that I could have brought my tripod after all.  It would have been nice because it was so windy that I was getting buffeted around.  I think I will go back tomorrow.  I was focused today and I think that I liked it!

Friday, July 24, 2009


No, seriously, stay focused on what you want and you may just get it.  Repeat after me, "I genuinely do what is best for me in all ways."  Got it?  This applies to everything.  We know when a situation is not right, so change it!  

Some of the things in my professional arsenal that require more attention include augmenting my portfolio, creating a new product, and bringing it to market.  What kinds of things do you want to show for the next year?  the next 6 months?  the next week?  the next hour?  How are you doing well by yourself?  How is what you are doing today going to fulfill who you are?  Think about it.  Every moment counts.  Its up to you which column it falls into, the column that is for you or the column that is against you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mid year review

I am pretty much in the same position I was at the beginning of the year, in the job pool. I am looking for work everyday.  I respond to every want ad that seems remotely related to any of my skill sets, just in case some one actually wants to hire someone like me.  I am working with my dad.  I am learning new skills.  I am improving my office skills by reading and practicing them.  I have a short term business plan designed to take me through the end of the year in producing my own pieces.  It is my intent to continue improving my job skills, to get a job, and to produce my own work for my business.  I truly hope and expect to be gainfully employed within 12 months to two years.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Broadening my horizons

A suggestion has been brought to me.  They have this idea that I should produce video segments which are reviews of different electronic gear.  The only impediment that I see to this is that I don't have the capital to invest in any gear at this point.  

Also, I am reading about management techniques, the finer points of secretarial work, and listening to free podcasts about how to speak Spanish.  In retrospect, I wish I had taken that language rather than French.  It would have been more useful.  I have some French ancestry and no Spanish, so at the time (kindergarten) when I made that choice it made sense.  I stuck with it through out high school and college.  Now, I'm trying to become more useful in the job market.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Geeky Reading material

Macworld "Troubleshot like a Genius."  This is what I'm doing today.  I'm also listening to Leo La Porte and checking out scheme and lisp.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Short term employment

I have a short term job.  Its a training position.  I will be basically working for my Dad on a construction project.  I will be helping him in the office.  I am looking forward to this project.  It is only 60 days of work.  I think that this will be a lot of fun and even though its not bringing in new funds to the family (as I will be subcontracting.)  So, in one way, I am employed!

Viva la employment!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Keeping your eye on the prize

Is all about maintaining a rigorous and effective schedule.  Be sure to include down time for your mind and body.  Include exercise, meditation, and flexibility training, too.  Add self designed projects to your portfolio.  Take the time to create a goal board.  Use your cardiovascular training, steady state workouts as time to reflect and ask yourself important questions.  Don't fall into a morass of self pity.  Be positive.  Learn to meditate.  Learn a new skill that is relevant to what you want to do.  For example, I want to learn to speak Spanish because here in CA, that is a very useful skill to have.  Be confident in spending time on other projects such as home improvements.  There is no shame in having new tile in your bathroom or a vegetable garden.  Clean out your closets.  Donate those items that you don't need or want.  Release that energy so that you can receive the energy that you do want.  Between your last job and your next may be some time to volunteer or be an intern.  There may be time to dedicate to learning how to navigate by the stars or about the top five most common native flowers in your county.  This in between time may be just what you need to close any educational gaps that still bother you.  I do wonder if in this time of financially ebb, if all of us just needed a day off.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ever had the its darn hot blues?

Well, its darn hot, and I would sing the blues if it didn't raise my body temperature.  I am checking out a new website called I received an email from him and apparently he is putting out a new website with tips and tricks for photographers.  I thought it would be worthwhile to post a link because he is offering 30$ off any of the "full training videos" if you give him feedback on what you would like to see.  Personally, I'm really interested in wild life photography.  I find that kind of work to be exciting.  I hope he does primarily technical tutorial's because when it comes to composition, I think most people have a feel for it.  Composition can be taught however, for me personally, thats not the part I need to (pardon the pun) focus on right now.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I didn't get that job.

Sigh, it would have been great!  Oh well.  Back to the drawing board.  I need to work on my portfolio and continue looking for work.  I don't know why I didn't get that job.  The email said that they hired someone who was more qualified.  Thats possible.  There are a lot of really qualified people in this area.  Still, I would  have been really good at the job.  I guess thats all the news that isn't news.  I sure could have used the pay.  I am reliable, a quick learner, and I get along with people well.  I have experience and I really thought I was an excellent candidate for the job.  We are hurting for work.  I really want to be employed, full time, close to home, with a benefit package, in a place where I am appreciated for my expertise and personality.  I want to be compensated appropriately for the work I perform.  My dad suggested that I do that kind of business on my own.  I don't want to own the business or be responsible for the insurance costs. I have done that once already and its a lot of money that I don't have.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Job Search 2009

I spent the morning online searching for new job listings.  I found one that I sent a resume to and I returned a phone call to another.  I have an interview scheduled for tomorrow.  I am optimistic about this prospect.  I have a peculiar set of skills that dove tails with the job as described to me on the phone.  I choose to remain cool and calm.  It is not necessary to become excited about an interview.  Its been my experience that you get the job that you are supposed to get.  I also read the article posted on Sac about how to prepare for a job interview.  I have looked at the company's website and they seem to be reputable.  The gentleman on the phone seemed to indicate that they had proprietary software for me to learn, so I did not already need to know the software prior to walking in the door.  Also, the website displayed a diverse company, that is important to me because I am native American.  Also, its a full time position and within driving distance.  The hours quoted to me on the phone seemed more than doable.  I have worked very grueling hours before, that is an experience that I do not care to repeat.

Monday, May 11, 2009

keeping the eye on the prize

I applied to a part time job this morning.  I am willing to take a part time position because that will still give me enough time to still work on my photography and music.  Its a technical/assistant position and I think that I am qualified.  I am good with following instructions, working with people and I have a background in tutoring.  Over all I am a great candidate.  However, there are people who are more technically proficient than I am.  I consider myself to be a user rather than an innovator.  I learn each piece of gear that I need to know and I use it.  I do not have an endless supply of gear knowledge in my head.  I'm not so sure thats a necessity anymore anyway.  Each setup is different.  Each camera is different.  I was listening to TWIP over the weekend as I ate some weeds and one of the photographers (forgive, I'm forgotten which one) said that he still uses his Canon 10D because why upgrade a camera body when you would need to relearn everything and all you get is a few new features.  I agree with that.  I think you learn the gear you have and from there are able to help others with that setup.  Well, thats one more prospect in my job quest.  

Monday, May 4, 2009

Job Search aka the Job Crawl

I check the job listings every morning.  There are some openings so I still have some hope.  I have my resume and references together.  I have put the word out that I'm in the job market.  I'm attending job fairs.  I'm checking Craig's list.  I have a video job this week, I'm doing to construction still work.  I have set up a short curriculum of skills to freshen up or improve.  I am applying to administrative and customer service listings.  If I don't get any nibbles in the next three months, I may apply to Radio Shack or Home Depot.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Folsom Lake College Job Fair

I attended the FLC job fair today.  I spoke to many different organizations looking for volunteers.  I also spoke to Macy's, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the police department.  I found several experience opportunities for administrative work support.  I think that may be a good way to get some more references locally.  I also found some opportunities to work with the hospice care and with autistic children.  There was a representative from Chapman university as well as a representative from Waldorf.  I don't know that I found a job today.  But, I did find out that FLC is a pleasant campus and that it is already summer here.  I am tired out from the level of sun this morning.  I wore sunscreen.  I had several copies of my resume but did not hand out any of them.  I will continue to look for work and I am also adding to my skill set.  Life is good and I am keeping my spirits up.

Monday, April 20, 2009

TFA update

I did not get that position.  I don't think I gave the right answers in the interview.  Thats ok.  It gave me an opportunity to get my resume and references together for my next round of job searches.  I enjoyed the interview process and met several fun people.  My interview was held in Stanford and I stayed in Palo Alto.  I spent the evening before taking floral photographs at the Whole Foods Market.  I was very happy with that group of photos.  I love taking pictures.  My dream job would be working for the feds or the state taking photos of government land all over the country, just documenting what work they are doing for posterity's sake.  I don't know if such a job exists.  I think I would be good at that.  I am fairly good with composition.  I know how to use a tripod and how to use aperture mode.  I am still working on having a really good understanding of all of the parameters which affect a photographic image.

The Davis Aroboretum

Is a lovely place to take photographs.  Its about 3 or 4 miles of a loop around a creek that runs through UC Davis campus.  Its very sunny.  You will need to stop down quite a bit.  The redwood grove is very beautiful.  There are several sections of the garden with a variety of plant life.  The wild life primarily consists of turtles and ducks.  The ducks are fearless.  There is a lot of shade from the redwood trees.  I enjoyed the day with the photography meet up.  I met several highly skilled photographers and I hope that I made a few friends.  We had our lunch on the picnic tables under the redwood canopy.  The parking was free on Sunday.  We parked in lot 5.   I brought one bottle of water.  I recommend bringing several bottles of water, sunscreen, a sun hat, and clothing that covers your limbs and protects you from the sun.  I had all of that and I still put some aloe on my face last night.  I really enjoyed the location and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I'm all set up for my interview.  I have my transcripts.  I have my 5 minute lesson and handout.  I have my hotel room.  I have my directions.  I'm still working on this project.  I will be going to a meeting tomorrow and then I will drive out to Palo Alto for the interview.  I need a little rest before I continue to work this afternoon.  I do know what I need to do though, so I should be ok.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Job prospects

I'm preparing for the TFA interview.  My family also has job prospects.  And, I have some ideas for video projects of my own.  I'm working on the scripts/ideas.  Things are looking up.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The 5 minute lesson

For Teach For America is not easy to pick.  I have settled on two options, one a short lesson about the dangers of caffeine and one an ESL style lesson about grammar.  My interview is on March 31.  The only disadvantage to this interview is the cost, about 110 dollars to stay.  The interview is an all day process, not just in the afternoon.  If it were in the afternoon, I could drive down and back.  Unfortunately, its just too far for that.

In other good news, a family member has the potential for work.  Wish us both luck.  The prayer that I have heard about work is that you ask for the right job for you.  This way, even if you don't get a job, you are blessed because that would have not been the right job for you.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hi Ho to Teach for America Finals I go

What an interesting set of requirements.  They want my transcripts from college.  Thats a lot of different places to go for paperwork.  I attended four different schools.  Two junior colleges and two CSU.  I don't know what I will do for the teaching sample lesson segment.  Other than that, I'm ready.  My transcripts should be ready for me by next Thursday.  My interview is scheduled for the 31st in Palo Alto.  It looks like a fun day.  Apparently, they only select 17% of their finalists.  I'm ok with that.  I'm really going to just have fun.  The finalists only spend part of the day teaching, just five minutes.  It looks like one long day of small group communications.  I enjoyed that part in college.  

The pros of Teach for America:  Great way to get experience teaching and to find out if I have what it takes to do the job.  Also, I had wanted to do some community service and this would look great on my resume.   

The cons:  I would have to leave home for two years.  I sure would miss it here!  I love my Mom and the ranch.  Possibly, the job may be very demanding and there would be hardly any time for art or music.  It might encroach on my workout times.  More on that in EDH Diet.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ask and ye might recieve

I did get an invitation to interview for Teach for America.  This is so exciting!  I've been emailing my potential references all morning.  This would be such a boon.  I would learn a lot and I would be paid.  The only disadvantage is that I would be leaving home for two years and I really love it here.  I would prefer to work as close to home as possible.  There is a middle school right up the road from here that would be ideal.  I could hike to work.  Life is so very good and I know its just going to get better from here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The mid point

I am more than half way through the second phase of this current project.  I am close to the end and gladly anticipating my next project.  Life is a beautiful thing when you have a plan.  I am mulling over ideas and brainstorming about my new product.  This product is unique because I will be primarily working on my own.  I have all of the requisite skill and my kit is primed.  The only variable will be the market and whether or not I will find a good steady stream of paying customers.  In any event it will give me a new set of pieces for my portfolio and additional experience in a relatively low key, low stress environment.  I will work on this project while simultaneously looking for additional paying work.  

Life is looking good.  I am optimistic and very lucky about where I live, my room mates, and my business.  Many have not faired as well as I have in this economic down turn.  I have become very frugal.  I am postponing frivolous purchases.  I am waiting until I can afford fun and games before I purchase them.  I am not buying a new car, another video camera, or more fitness equipment right now.  I would love to buy some more workout DVDs from Cathe Friedrich, however, that can wait.  I am more than well equipped to continue with my work, my quest for fitness, and I have plenty of inexpensive ways to be entertained.  I have a good local library to visit, book shelves full of things to read and a netflix account.  What more could I possibly want?  I even prefer cooking for myself.  I have plenty of painting supplies, more than I could possibly go through in a year.  I even have plenty of vitamins in the cupboard, I could go a year before I have to go back to Costco for another installment on that front.

They say that the best things in life are free.  For me that is really true, I love hiking and visiting with friends.  As mid points go, both in my life and my career, I am loving this one.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

On with the second phase

Of this project.  I will commence project sort it all out tomorrow.  I spent the day shopping and inquired about some jobs.  I have procured an application for a local retail store which I happened to love.  The young man said that they did not have a job opening but that they were always accepting applications.  I expect to be in job hunt mode next week.  I will update my resume and haunt all of the locations that I know.  I will also be augmenting my skill set specifically with computer applications.  My long term goals are still to be a personal coach, personal trainer, and yoga instructor.  I hope to continue with my photography and a product concept which would combine all of my interests, strengths and skills.  I am comfortable, lucky, and I am so very grateful for this odd hiccup in history which has jostled me out of what could have been a boring and stressful existence.  Vive la difference!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

And so it goes.

I am almost finished with this current project.  I expect it to take approximately two more days to complete which is perfect because my client will have some time to spend with me come the weekend.  

I didn't expect to be this different than I was just three years ago.  However, I would never make the same choices that I did at that time.  I hate to say it, but I do believe I've matured.  "I can see clearer now, the rain is gone."  I've learned and sought out different techniques for managing my business and with the economic down turn I'm not closing my business, rather I'm diversifying.  I have some ideas for products that I can make and market on my own.  I will need to look into what that takes.  

I will be working on my skill set, my resume, and applying for as well as looking for different revenue streams.  Wish me luck.  As a matter of fact, wish everybody luck.  Because with the way things are now, everybody needs a bit of luck.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Its a blustery day in data entry land

Its raining, windy, and cloudy.  I am sitting comfortably, computer on my lap, and scanner at my side.  Data to be scanned and ocr.  Then, tomorrow its sorting.  That should only take one day.  Hopefully this project will be complete at that point.  Once finished I will revamp my resume and commence project "Find a new revenue source."  Life is a beautiful thing and I will be able to enjoy more of that beauty once I have a paying gig and can relieve my elderly mother of her financial worries.  I am using The Secret, Simple Steps, and positive thinking.  My next project will include a goal board.  I've created a digital one, then I will make a physical one.  It consists of photos of things I want in my life.  That includes financial success, a vital practice as a personal coach, personal trainer, and therapist, as well as some material things I want.  Keep praying, keep visualizing, and know that your point of view counts.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Working on working

This week is another spent on the computer entering data.  I don't mind it too much.  As soon as this project is done I will update my resume, look for work, and hopefully get a j o b.  That would be a true answer to my prayers.  I would like to make enough money for my mother to retire.  That would be ideal.  Something close by so I could have a short commute or bicycle to work.  

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I applied to Teach America this morning

What a walk down memory lane!  I had to review experiences I hadn't thought about since I was an undergraduate at a junior college.  What a blast from the past.  I went to Sacramento City College and finished up home studies at the same time because I wanted to play in the orchestra at California State University Sacramento.  I did that for three years.  It was an amazing experience.  The only disadvantage is that I have oddities in my transcripts so when I apply for graduate school it always takes a little bit of explaining.  I started taking college courses in 1994 and I did not graduate until 2004.  I did earn several certificates, change schools three times, play in orchestra, and change my major.  It doesn't seem to matter when I apply for work.  However, Teach America is a combination of both.  I am not holding my breath, it would be nice if I got the position because it is paid and I would have a paying gig while the economy is working on bouncing back from this most recent downturn.  I had been leaning towards a rural school teaching position anyway.  One of their locations is Gilroy, CA which would be ideal because it is close.  Just a quick pop up the freeway and voila I'm home in Sacramento.  So, keep me in your prayers, lets hope I get the job!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Teach for America

I am considering applying to the Teach for America program.  They are paid.  And, with the economy being depressed as it is, I do have some free time.  That would be one solution.  I would hope that I could stay here in Northern CA.  However, if it were a rural school, that would be ok too.  I have much experience living in rural areas and even have some tutoring experience.  I do have my BA in Communications, my undergraduate GPA was a 3.7 and I am capable of writing at a college level.  I even earned a certificate in tutoring and did that as a teenager, my subject was music.  What do you think?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The economy and me

Or in other words, my shadow and me.  Well, my shadow has cast itself across my personal finances and once again I am thrashing about trying to come up with a new business model and income source.  The income source that I had thought would be my fortune has not yet panned out due to the people I had counted on going out of business.  So, that means no business for them and no business for me either.  In the mean time, I am adding new skills to my arsenal and revisiting skills that I have not used in a while.  I will be seeking work as well as advertising that I am available to teach piano.  Luckily, I am living with fabulous roommates who are understanding and tell me just to look for work and they will cover the expenses around here until I can land a job.  That is so very nice of them.  I am simply the luckiest person in the whole world.  I live in a beautiful neighborhood, I have a roof over head, I have a cat, I have food in my belly, I have an education and work experience.  I have drive and desire to be financially independent.  What more could I possibly want?  I also have time to work on my skills (Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, as well as Office.)  I even have time to work on my physical fitness (more on that in my other blog.) My life is utterly blessed and I am just so grateful.  My life is just a miracle in so many ways.  From making it as a baby to surviving childhood and then making it out of teen hood barely scarred at all is truly a testament to the miraculous.  To now be aware of my blessings makes all of the minor difficulties seem surmountable.  Being out of an income is not trivial but it is, in my case, something that I have the skills and ability to take on.  Life is good and its only going to be getting better.  

Come on, lets go take some pictures.