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Creating Art is One Thing

Selling it… often feels more like a job.  Since I opened my Etsy shop two years ago, it has been somewhat slow going and a continuous learning process on how to be a marketer, a writer, and a designer.  I have had to learn about web logistics, SEOs, and social media management… with many hours spent surfing the web looking for how-to’s and what-not-to do’s.

My very first Etsy listing and product shot.

However, I learn something new with every Etsy listing.  For example, I started out by staging my own product shots, scavenging the house for items to include, working in a makeshift studio (i.e. a corner in my office), taking photos of my photos and then having to edit those.

Until I discovered the wonderful world of Photoshop mock-ups that include everything from the frames to the walls to the all accessories…  And with so many options, the most time consuming part now is making up my mind.

My latest Etsy listing.

Even for this do-it-your-selfer, these pre-made mock-ups are a huge time saver and even an extension of the creative process, making selling art a little less like a job.

Need a mock-up?  Checkout Creative Market. Also a great place for fonts, textures, and other goodies.

Feeling a little blue…

… there is nothing like getting out in the garden with the camera to fix that.

The garden is also where I head when I’m feeling a little artistically and photographically stuck (which also makes me feel a bit blue).  The natural beauty, perfect palate of color, and ever so soft flow and movement in a single bloom is simply…breathtaking.  Capturing all of that is such a delight and a good exercise for tackling a rut.

Even as the season wears on, when the blooms are a bit more scarce, and their the petals a bit faded and weary,  capturing the beauty that remains by creating a still life is another great exercise to reignite that creativity.

I’m a bit obsessed (there I said it) with learning all sorts of new techniques… and there’s a lot out there!  So much so, I tend to skip around a lot, never really feeling like I mastered one before I move onto another, and this can lead to a very big pile of… frustration… and a rut.  So dialing it back a bit, choosing a simpler subject (simpler in that it is not moving, travel is not required, and it is ready when you are) and using a familiar platform to practice techniques that are still a little unrefined or experiment with new ones… is key and starts by returning to the garden.

Tech Tip

New techniques used in the images above Curves!  I never used this before, honestly because I had no idea how it really worked.   But now that I do, I use it to boost/change color, lighten/darken ~ all over or just by selecting the most minute areas.  Curves has moved to the top of favorite tools!  Who knows maybe I’ll try a curves how-to video post… uh-oh, there I go again.  On second thought, maybe it would be better if I just go find a good one to share with you 🙂

And ACTION!

The Spartan Blue Mountain Challenge is an impressive event.  I tried to find the actual # of participants, lets just say the race page results had 53 pages with 38 names on a page… I’ll let you do the math.   But I actually only came out to see just two, my son, and his friend, and first time Spartan, Chris.

But they weren’t the only ones taking on a challenge.  I find action photography to be a challenge because it is the least forgiving… let’s face it, blurry is blurry (unless that’s what you’re going for).  It is also here that knowing you’re camera really is everything. Because if you’re not ready, you are going to miss it.

 

Just like this Spartan race, I too had a few obstacles to overcome.   The two biggest: Having no idea what to expect and being a pretty fair distance from the action.  Trust me, you don’t want to get in the way of these guys and gals…  The gear in case you’re wondering:  Nikon D750 and a 70-300 lens.  It’s not to hard to figure out who my subject/son is but just in case, he’s the guy in the red shirt/compression pants and always looking pretty proud when he found me and the camera.

Back to the action.

 

Apparently the mucky water was still refreshing after 3 hours on the course.

Out of 20-something obstacles throughout the course, I only had access to a handful and I can’t believe that I almost missed this one, the water pit that was hidden on the other side of a dirt road.  Grateful my scout (and husband) went wandering.

Did I mention I was shooting hand-held.  Well, I was and the arms were getting tired.

First timer, Chris, assessing what’s in store for him.
…and this is what they have to carry all the way back up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No stopping for the guy in red as he zips by a fellow competitor who has stopped to rest. Did I mention this was day 2 for him. He ran/climbed/pushed and pulled his way through the Super 8-10 miles, and 24+ obstacles just the day before.

No rest for the weary… again, talking about me 😉 .  Getting a better feel and a whole lot closer to the action, I was able to find perches (like my knees) to steady the camera.

Isn’t this what everyone wants to do right after they hauled a bucket of rocks up a hill?

I’ve heard a lot about the barbed wire obstacle and I wasn’t going to miss it.

Commando, roll, crawl seemed to be the techniques of choice.

Remember when I mentioned knowing your camera.  Well, I learned something about mine while processing these photos from the barbed wire obstacle.  My camera/lens was actually not focusing where I wanted it to.  I was perplexed and surprised when it looked like the guy in the back was in better focus than then my son.  Apparently it was back focusing.  I have since gotten a lesson in how to fix that problem:  Using a ruler and adjusting the AF Fine-Tune in my camera settings.

So this one takes my “Favorite” shot of the day. No, he’s not posing (at least I don’t think he is). It’s all about technique.
The Big Finish

And at the end of it all, you muster up everything you’ve got and jump as high as you can… because the official Spartan photographer (and me) are just waiting to take that final shot.

Spartans are a unique group of individuals that come from all walks, young and old, men and women, fit and not so fit, who come to face a challenge… for as many different reasons as there are Spartans.   And, my Spartan this day… action photography.