I have been busy setting up my new portrait photography business!  I finally took the plunge and made the name, “Offshoots Photography,” official by registering it with the Secretary of State.  I also registered with the Department of Revenue for my retail sales license; applied for my local business license; hired a company to do my logo, here it is:

OFFSHOOTS PHOTOGRAPHY Logo Tagline jpgI hired the same company to design my business cards; created a Facebook Page (Like it here); created a website (check it out here); created all my forms from scratch; aaaaaand….the most exciting thing:

I had my first official portrait session yesterday! So exciting! I won’t be blogging about them here, but instead on my business blog at Offshoots Photography Blog.

There’s nothing there yet, but will be soon, so make sure to follow.

In the meantime, I will be posting here again, as well, now that the business is mostly set up. Here are some pet portraits of my pooches. I can’t believe I actually got them to sit still long enough to take these.

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I do post daily on Instagram, so follow me there, too, @offshoots_photography.

From a quaint little village of shops we walked through in Galtlinburg, Tennessee last month.

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While driving along the Smoky Mountain highways, you bet we took time to pull over and take some pics of the amazing views.

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On November 23, 2016, fire caught in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the United States, eventually spreading to over 17,000 acres and leading to the death of fourteen people.

Two teenage boys caught on video tossing matches and leaving a smoking brush were blamed for the start of the fire, but charges were dropped just two days ago, June 30, 2017 (source) for various reasons including because no direct link can be made between their actions and the wildfire; authorities let the fire burn rather than putting it out AND failed to notify residents and delayed evacuations; because no one could have predicted the hurricane like winds which spread the fire out of control days after it started, and because prosecutors have no jurisdiction to file charges for crimes allegedly committed in a federally owned National Park.

The fire spread to the nearby towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge where it burned more than 2400 buildings. During our vacation last month in that area we didn’t see but a few burned out buildings. In such a short period of time, the towns have done a miraculous job of rebuilding.

Some scenes were somber, however, such as this abandoned motel whose pool was dry and whose marquee sign read: “Pray for our town.”

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Other buildings were not even recognizable for what they once were.

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And up in the mountains more were left burned out and abandoned.

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A little over a month ago, I decided that Offshoots Photography should join the world of Instagram. I have a personal account already for friends and family pics, but I wanted a place to share portraits as I one day build up the business side of Offshoots.

In the meantime, I am using it to share creative works on the go and as a chance to use some of the awesome mobile photo-editing apps out there. Moreover, like WordPress, it is a great way to connect with other photographers and artists in order to learn from and enjoy their work, as well as to connect with potential clients in my area. I am also using it as a medium to share long forgotten images I may fine tune or completely revamp into photo art.

I am having a lot of fun with it because I can sit anywhere with my phone and create versus being tied to my laptop. Also, pulling up old images brings back lots of good memories.

Follow me on Instagram.

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Do you have an Instagram account for your creative photography? If so, feel free to leave your @accountname or link in the comments.

This lovely stream was nestled smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

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We stayed within walking distance of downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee on our vacation last week where there were so many little shops and specialty stores; not so much of the typical touristy t-shirt places you’ll a lot of times see.

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One of my favorite places was this candy store.  All the yummy treats and brightly colored deliciousness made me feel like a kid in….well, a candy store, of course!

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We are in Gatlinburg, Tennessee right now on family vacation and believe it or not, while in America’s heartland, one of the first places we chose to eat dinner was a full-on Mexican cantina called, “No Way Jose.” Since I am prone to saying this phrase to my children a lot, I thought it was quite appropriate to include them in some of the photos. 😉

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Time keeps things orderly.

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Paving stones placed in a patterned order.

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Traffic lights keep cars moving in an orderly fashion.

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Rows and columns in perfect order.

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When I came across Debbie Smyth’s One Word Sunday’s prompt of “Abstract,” I couldn’t help but go through my archives and reminisce over all the photo art I used to digitally create.  These days there are apps that do it all for you with one tap of the screen.

Boy, did I use to dodge and burn, cut and paste, mask and layer, and layer and layer and layer.  And pinch and whirl, brush and overlay, multiply and screen, distort and blur.  You get the idea.

Each piece began as a photo taken with my camera and then edited in GIMP, which is a free software program very similar to Photoshop from what I hear.  I love it.

I did these years ago, and because our style sometimes evolves over time, I imagine my pieces would look different today…or maybe not.  I may start experimenting again to find out.

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tree hugs

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This is my very first attempt at light painting an object and I must say it was very…unsuccessful as far as light painting goes.  The light beam was too wide so the back wall was illuminated which was not good.

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I decided to get creative with it and messed around in GIMP (Photoshop equivalent) and with some filters…

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Fellow photographer, Julie Powell, gave me a tip on how to pinpoint that light, so hopefully my next attempt will yield better results.  Can’t wait to try again!

 

This week’s Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge is “Dense.” Now, dense has more than one meaning. The first being “stupid or foolish” which could be applied to my husband and I as we embarked down a never before explored (by us) gated path that displayed this sign at its start:

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Turns out we didn’t get shot and the risk was worth it as we enjoyed some beautiful sunset views of “dense” brush, fields, and trees.

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I know I said no more sunsets, but I just couldn’t help myself!

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While walking down a wooded path we had never before traveled, we came upon a clearing where a family of deer were enjoying a sunset meal in the grassy field. Of course they scattered before I could even get my camera raised.

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Now that I know they are there, I will be sneakier the next time we go back. 🙂

Light painting, or light drawing, is a photographic technique in which exposures are made by moving a hand-held light source while taking a long exposure photograph, either to illuminate a subject or to shine a point of light directly at the camera, or by moving the camera itself during exposure.

My daughters and I had fun experimenting with light painting recently. They used a small flash light to create these designs. We happen to catch my pup in the first one. 🙂

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The fam and I went to Costco last weekend. For those of you who don’t know what Costco is, it is a huge warehouse with lots of stuff, everything from electronics to clothing to groceries to you name it.

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Look at all those chickens!

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How it differs from your typical mega-super store is that you can get mass quantities for a greatly reduced price. Think toilet paper. 😀

We also got a fabulous deal on my new laptop last month. This week our purchase included a 100-count box of granola bars and a six-pack of deodorant.

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Daughter checking out the beauty products.

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We grabbed some lunch from the snack bar to keep up our energy for the long check out lines.

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I took all of these photos with my smart phone, which doesn’t have a great camera, but I am snap-happy, and also taking the advice of some fellow photographers, who told me recently to just “point and click.” 🙂

 

I was sitting in my living room when I heard this little guy chirping outside on the front porch.  He was perched a top a pillow on the rocker.  I sneakily snapped these images through the window, so as not to scare him away.

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I feel like lately I have been editing my images on the safe side; not pushing the contrast or saturation a little more for greater depth and interest, for example.  Somewhere along the way, I have lost the creative aspect of it all.  Hoping to rediscover that soon.

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I took this image a year or two ago of my daughter and have been holding on to it to post for the “perfect challenge.”  Today, I thought, Who cares!  What am I waiting for?  Life is too short and we are never guaranteed tomorrow.

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These are some shots of the sunset in my neighborhood.  I think I am finished with sunsets and sunrises; not that I have mastered them.  Far from it!  I just need a ND filter and a good spot to capture anything better than what I can get among suburban obstacles like houses, tree lines, power lines, etc., neither of which I have at the moment.

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I am not sure what I am going to photograph in the meantime.  I have a few more images to post here before I run out of unpublished ones.  I would really love to do more portraits, but the opportunity hasn’t presented itself lately.  I suppose I could rework some old images.  I seem to be stuck.  Any suggestions?

The temperatures sure are interesting around here.  Yesterday it was 39F in the morning and warmed up to 77F by late afternoon.  Even the foliage is showing signs of the dead winter and the buds of spring.

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These trees were literally right next to one another!

It’s amazing how quickly the sun sets, or maybe just how fast time goes by when I am out walking and taking pictures.  We went to a neighborhood trail last night and walked east which gave me a chance to turn back and take these shots of the setting sun backlighting the tree line.

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What seemed like ten short minutes later, when we returned along the same path, the sun had disappeared.

The gnat clusters (I don’t know what else to call them!) were out in full force.  If you look close, you can see them in the sunlight below.  They were all along our walking path, so I felt like I had to keep my head down a lot.

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All in all, it was a nice after-dinner outing.  My daughter rode her bike; I got some decent shots (more to come), and my husband kept us both company.

I got a new camera a few months back and the remote shutter control from my old camera doesn’t fit on my new one, so this longer exposure shot of the sunrise through my backyard trees isn’t as sharp as it could have been.

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Then my husband, who is not a photographer per se, reminded me I could have used the self-timer to avoid the camera shake and I just had to laugh at myself.  Oh well!  It was 6am and I hadn’t had my coffee yet. 🙂

 

Tonight we dyed Easter eggs, an annual tradition in our household that my two daughters have always enjoyed.  This year, however, my oldest one who is just shy of sixteen, decided to forgo the family tradition to go out with a friend instead.

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It was a little strange not having her there, but the rest of us were just as goofy as ever, trying to outdo one another’s colorful creations.

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I think we all did an equally fine job!  Happy Easter!

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So, yeah, it’s been almost four months since I posted anything here, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been taking photos.  I’ve been shooting lots of photos.  Hundreds of photos!

Both of my daughters’ volleyball seasons started back in January and we have had tournaments every weekend since then except for one.  We absolutely love it!  Watching them play and cheering them on is always so exciting!

One of the tournaments was held at an old high school, and the lockers caught my eye.  I felt like I was back in the 1970’s or 80’s with the look and feel of the lockers and hallways of this school.

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An up-close look reveals how old the lockers really are, showing the rusted hinges, layers of paint, dents, and chips.

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We have one more month of tournaments left, so I am hoping to move onto other photographic subjects soon.  Until then…

Santa always comes to our house even though the kids know how things work. 😉  He wraps his presents in green and red tissue paper just like he did when I was a child.

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It appears I fell off of the photographic wagon for a night.  This made me happy.  I hope to keep it up.  After not posting for well over 6 weeks, here are some shots of various angles of our modest Christmas tree.

I will be doing the last bit of shopping tomorrow.  Only three gifts left to pick up and then some cleaning since we are having family over both Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Hopefully, I will be inspired to shoot more this weekend.  I will post once more before the end of the week and I will get back to visiting everyone soon.

These 3 photos were taken in a corn maze.  I only got lost a few times because I kept stopping to take pictures! 🙂

I’ve been very busy editing hundreds of images from high school events including senior pictures, volleyball games, a powder puff game and homecoming.  Here is one of my favorite candid shots of my daughter on homecoming night and a photo of her pretty corsage.

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