Joshua Tree

Someday these will be the good old days.

Packing up the jeep to head out for a weekend of camping. Fresh air, our favorite little tent, The "best food I've ever had" cooked over the fire, desert sunsets, nature, exploring a new place, unplugging, and quality time- just the two of us. 

Sometimes I hear people say they didn't realize what they had until it was gone. I know how lucky I am to be married to him, to be on this adventure with him. I know God looked out for me when I met Riley. I don't need to loose anything to realize that. 

Things will change, finances, kids, possibly health, I know that. I also know that I will not ever take one thing that I have for granted. 

Life is so good. 

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5 ways to better pictures

This title doesn't seem like it belongs on a wellness blog but I'll tell you why it does..

I first picked up a camera about six years ago. I was a med surg nurse living in northern Michigan, and I just felt like I wanted to try something new on my time off. I looked up good cameras to start with, and made my decision to buy a canon rebel. I was not fond of my job so anytime I had downtime I was on blogs reading about photography. I wanted to learn anything I could to take pretty pictures, because it just feels good when you do. It feels creative, and happy and like you captured beauty in a way that you never have before.

Little did I know photography would change how I saw the world. When you are searching for photos, you are pushed to find beauty. Beauty in bad weather, beauty in a puddle reflection, beauty in the way a camera can capture something different than our eyes can. I became grateful for the smallest things, like water drops on a pine branch, storm clouds looming, or morning light beaming in through the window. I stopped and started noticing beauty in the small things. In a sense, I slowed down and smelled the roses. This was more than a new hobby, photography changed my vision. Photography gave me more beauty in my life than I had before my camera. I have met more people, spent more time in nature, and understood that I need to see the world differently, all from the love of taking pictures. 

So many people tell me "I would love to pick up my camera again, I would love to learn but I don't have time." I urge you to make the time. Discover this hobby that is only going to improve with time and shutter count. It will change how you see the world, I can promise you that. Here are my top five ways to better photography:

1. Actively search for opportunities. Bad weather, the golden hour, secluded places in nature that are harder to get to. These all make for great photo ops! It's amazing that a camera can change your behavior, like going out when you normally wouldn't have, just for a photo. 

1. Actively search for opportunities. Bad weather, the golden hour, secluded places in nature that are harder to get to. These all make for great photo ops! It's amazing that a camera can change your behavior, like going out when you normally wouldn't have, just for a photo. 

2. Get off of the auto setting and understand aperture. On a Canon that is the Av setting. Want that beautiful blur in the background and only your subject in focus? Take that f number and lower it. As low as your lens will let you. This will also let more light in so you will have to adjust things to get the picture you want. This is so good for portraits, low light, and artistic pictures.

2. Get off of the auto setting and understand aperture. On a Canon that is the Av setting. Want that beautiful blur in the background and only your subject in focus? Take that f number and lower it. As low as your lens will let you. This will also let more light in so you will have to adjust things to get the picture you want. This is so good for portraits, low light, and artistic pictures.

3. Don't take photos at eye level. Yes, I mean: be the weirdo in public who is crouching down, or even laying down to get a cool perspective, like I did for this one. The other day I was outside of my apartment standing on a chair pointing my camera straight down at some products and props on a white board. I got a lot of funny stares and a lot of good pictures :) 

3. Don't take photos at eye level. Yes, I mean: be the weirdo in public who is crouching down, or even laying down to get a cool perspective, like I did for this one. The other day I was outside of my apartment standing on a chair pointing my camera straight down at some products and props on a white board. I got a lot of funny stares and a lot of good pictures :) 

4. Use a tripod. I have two reasons for this. 1) For sharper images. I do take many handheld so if this is the case, hold as still as possible. Sometimes I feel like some kind of sniper because I hold my breath when I press the shutter. You can also hold it down to take multiple pictures so that the actual act of pressing the shutter isn't making the camera shake. The the last ones will be just a bit sharper. 2) For the experience with nature photography. I LOVE to take my tripod for a waterfall shot or star photography because it's like you get to experience the scene twice. You set it up, press the shutter, and just sit there, taking it all in, and letting the camera record it for you to enjoy later. 

4. Use a tripod. I have two reasons for this. 1) For sharper images. I do take many handheld so if this is the case, hold as still as possible. Sometimes I feel like some kind of sniper because I hold my breath when I press the shutter. You can also hold it down to take multiple pictures so that the actual act of pressing the shutter isn't making the camera shake. The the last ones will be just a bit sharper. 2) For the experience with nature photography. I LOVE to take my tripod for a waterfall shot or star photography because it's like you get to experience the scene twice. You set it up, press the shutter, and just sit there, taking it all in, and letting the camera record it for you to enjoy later. 

5. Take a photo a day. I reached out to a photographer for the advice on which camera to buy. She led me to the rebel and encouraged me to do a "365 project." This means a photo a day, for one year. This is harder than it sounds. When I was working three 12 hour shifts in a row, this was a challenge for me. The point of it is to force yourself to grow, and practice, and find beauty in the small things. You can take amazing photos, just keep clicking and you can only get better.

5. Take a photo a day. I reached out to a photographer for the advice on which camera to buy. She led me to the rebel and encouraged me to do a "365 project." This means a photo a day, for one year. This is harder than it sounds. When I was working three 12 hour shifts in a row, this was a challenge for me. The point of it is to force yourself to grow, and practice, and find beauty in the small things. You can take amazing photos, just keep clicking and you can only get better.

Photography is a beautiful way to grow personally, or if you wanted, professionally. I made the decision after photographing a few weddings that it was not for me. I knew that this was just my special hobby to save for some purpose later. Now it all makes sense..  I get to do exactly what I love, taking product and lifestyle pictures for my blog and business. My path with photography has been a beautiful little blessing in my life. 

One photo a day, you can do it. 

I wish you Wellness