Since we moved to Louisiana just over five years ago, I have tried to go back to my home in Montana to see friends and family at least every other year. This is the off year for us and I truly miss the beauty of the incredible "Big Sky Country." So I decided I would go back through old photos to find some to print and hang in my office. Exactly ten years ago I had taken my kids to go see the dams in town. Great Falls has five of them. I think when we make it back there next year I will try to go shoot them again.
Maybe its the hot summer weather? Maybe its the Love Bugs? Could it be the traffic on Airline Drive? Maybe they don't know what they are missing?
Since I am not originally from Bossier maybe I have more appreciation for what the town has to offer. Constantly I have heard how there is nothing to see or do, nothing pretty to photograph. I decided to take an evening to go shoot some of the beauty I see every week. This town has so much to offer and many people don't even notice it. From incredible food, shopping, an IMAX theater, casinos, and the military base there always seems to be something to see or do.
Needless to say I don't think this scratches the surface of things to show off our town. I didn't even include the Boardwalk, the Red River, Red River Wildlife Refuge, or the Mardi Gras Museum. Maybe these will be my goal for another shoot day. For my photography friends, take the time to go shoot your favorite places in town, especially the ones you see everyday and might totally overlook.
I am sure that one of the hardest things when moving into a new area is finding a trustworthy and talented person who can cut and style your hair. The same issue happens when your stylist has to move away. A few months ago that is what happened to me when my stylist moved to Texarkana. I had to find someone stylish and creative, willing to help add some flair and color to my every day.
Needless to say when I met Allison, the salon manager at Joseph Guin Salon, I met the person who could help to solve my worries. The staff there is incredible, and I got to hear from Joseph about his personal drive to owning a salon and it is inspiring. I love when people have a dream and work their tails off to achieve it. Its even better when they truly love what they do and it shows in their work. I get that from this place. You can see the personal style, feel the joy, watch the hard work, and get thoroughly spoiled. I mean they have incredible products, cookies, drinks, beautiful art, and the most comfy couches you can relax on.
So when Allison reached out to me to photograph some images of the salon and staff to update their business website and social media I jumped at the chance to help showcase them and their business.
If you are looking for a stylist and not totally sure how to find one that will suit you, call the salon and explain to Allison your style and hair goals and she will match you with one of their incredible stylists.
Honestly you can't do much wrong when it comes to taking photos of sunflowers as they are so pretty. The hardest thing is probably the motivation to drive out to the fields in the Louisiana summer heat. There are some ways though, that you can be sure to create some favorite images from the Gilliam Sunflower Festival.
- Go early in the morning or late in the evening. Get the beautiful sunrise/sunset light.
- Use a macro lens. Get up close and focus on the small details.
- Use a lensbaby lens. These create such a beautiful artistic look to the flowers.
- Bring a flash or reflector. This is really important if you go too close to sunset or in the middle of the afternoon. It helps to bring more light to the subject and can help set it apart in the image.
- Use a shallow depth of field (like 2.8 or 4). Go to the smallest number your lens can handle. In a sea of flowers you can make just one stand out this way.
- Shoot, shoot, and shoot. The more you practice and try things the more you learn and will create images you love.
For those of you wondering if you should try it, yes! The town of Gilliam puts on a wonderful festival with good food, amazing free homemade lemonade, and lots of craft/homemade items for sale. They also allow people to pick any sunflowers they want from the fields right by the library so you can bring them home to do your own projects or put in your home. The flowers probably only have a week or two left in bloom so get on it or you will have to wait until next year.
I have been so blessed over the past five years I have lived in the Shreveport/Bossier area to get to work with a bunch of different manufacturing companies in the area. They make a wide variety of products to serve the local area and some have global reach too. It is always incredible to me to see how people have made, created, designed, and built products. One such company creates tv wall mounts to be sold around the world, All Star Mounts. They have a huge variety of products that can serve any tv needs. I definitely found one that my husband would love to have in our home.
The last few days I have spent a few hours and have quite a few more to go on editing images for them. I decided I would try a quick time lapse video to show some of my work. I know it isn't anything fancy, but it is definitely something that requires detail work and precision. I know I always want my images to be my best work that the public sees and I think most companies like to make sure their products look the best too
Incredible people help to make an incredible community. Truly that is how I feel about Bossier and the people I have met since moving here. One of those incredible people I want to send some love out to is Kim. I know her family has had a rough patch the last couple of weeks, and I hope that things take a turn for the better because she is one of those people who is so sweet, down to earth, and helpful. We met when our sons played soccer together a few years ago.
Hardworking, determined, mother, hockey player, wife, soccer coach, friend. All are words that describe her, and truly she is a person to get to know. Each image shows a different side of her, and all are beautiful.
It is awesome to see how our town is growing and getting new businesses. It was so much fun to get to spend a couple of days working with the staff of Holmes Honda for their ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening event. They definitely know how make people feel welcomed and to show them a good time.
The grand opening had a food truck smack down with the winner getting $1000 for the charity of their choice. Tons of awesome food by Southern Fork Catering, Ono's Traditional Hawaiian Cuisine, Taqueria La Michoacana, Uneeda Taco, Choego Shreveport, and Sweetport! The big winner was Ono's Traditional Hawaiian Cuisine with them gifting the money to St. Jude's!
So each week I try to come up with an interesting topic, images, idea, etc. to do as my blog post. I think sometimes it is interested, but honestly most of the time I feel like what I write is so cheesy. I know how to write and have actually kept journals off and on since I was 7! I tend to write like I talk, which probably isn't the most beneficial to getting good website SEO. But its me.
So I figured this week I would let you know about how I love personal challenges. I do better if I have an end goal, deadlines, requirements, something to push me. This works for some people and yet for others it stresses them out. Since moving to the Shreveport Bossier area I have let my personal challenges slide. It probably had to do with finally graduating and the sense of freedom of not having so many mandated deadlines and projects. It has definitely been past time to start doing them for myself though.
Since being in the South I joined a group called the Red River Photographers. Its a local photography group that meets almost monthly to practice, learn, and have fun. For the last few years I have helped to run it. So I scheduled a trip for the group to go to the Tyler TX Azalea Festival. It was so beautiful! I will definitely be going back next year. This year though I challenged myself to only shoot images with my macro lens or my lensbaby lens. A lens challenge is awesome because it makes you try to see your area knowing each image will have a certain look to it. If you are a photographer, pro or hobbyist, this is something you should do occasionally.
For three years now I have been part of a small group of photographers that volunteer to shoot the Barksdale Mud Run. Its a busy, dirty, and totally fun gig. This year was the coldest that anyone could remember with temps in the 40s in the morning when the first waves went through. It rained throughout the day adding a bit of chaos and a lot more mud.
Usually I have spent the day racing between the obstacles on a side by side trying to capture as many participants images as possible. This year was a bit different. We ended up with our ride totally stuck in the mud on a hill side and had to walk out capturing the racers as we went.
The race ended a bit early for me as I got my leg caught up in some razor wire that was just off the path. I was trying to avoid slipping in the mud and ended up falling straight into it instead. After a couple of hours with a camera cleaning kit and a tetanus shot it ended up another good shoot in the books.
Have you ever felt lost-either physically, spiritually, creatively, or emotionally? I am not sure if the proper term would be lost or stuck. Either term will suffice though. Basically I have been at a stand still.
The past few months I have felt in a hole. I have a list of things I would love to create, business goals, life projects, etc. I know my end goals, but I wasn't sure what direction to go to get there. I have spent over three months trying to decide, educate myself, self reflection, prayer, etc. In the end I realize I just need to move. Even if it doesn't help me to go forward I will learn from the movement, from the choice, from the decision.
The first step out of this hole was that I wanted to create images that showed someone who was trapped in that dark place and finds their way back into the light. We all have been there in our lives, whether it was in a bad job, relationship, or life issue. I am very blessed to work with an incredible hair and makeup artist, Leah, who jumped at the chance to help me create again. Not only was this a chance to try something new in the studio, it breathed life into my soul. At one point during the shoot Leah referenced a song that had been on the radio during the day, Fear is a Liar. I have taken this song to heart. I need to let go of fear and move towards what I can achieve.
Don't let your fears stop you from moving forward! If you feel stuck, reach out to those around you to help you find direction, read good books, pray, take time for yourself. I want to create and run a business, sometime those two things will be one in the same, other times they won't. Either way I will learn and grow. This is me getting back to what I love in my art and my business.
Yes, I am probably a bit biased as my kids go to Haughton schools so I have a good excuse.
When Andrew contacted me to do his pictures I was so excited as he wanted to do in studio and on location, my favorite way to do a senior session! We started with a few looks in the studio for more formal images (and isn't great to get uniform photos?!?) Then we headed to downtown Shreveport for more fun photos.
I love being able to listen to seniors tell me what they have achieved while in school, what they have worked towards, what accomplishments they have made. They are learning and growing into the incredible adults they will become. Andrew was no different, with his goals and drive he will go far!
The cold and rain couldn't put a damper on celebration of Mardi Gras this year! We had a great turn out of friends to be able to celebrate together. The kids spent the afternoon sliding down the hill on cardboard boxes, around a campfire, and eating tons of food. I had hoped to get some great parade shots, but as soon as the parade started to roll so did the rain. Needless to say I just got a few quick shots for the memories and put the camera away.