I began taking photography seriously about six years ago, when I purchased my first Canon Rebel.
I had no idea what I was doing – didn’t know the first thing about the technical aspect of photography, but always loved the art and creativity of it. And, photography makes me incredibly happy. I love to venture out, camera in hand, and shoot everything and anything that interests me – especially wildlife.
About two years ago I decided to that life was too short and I was going to spend my time focusing (pun intended) on making my photography career happen.
I got hired with the Teddy Bear Portraits division of Nationwide Studios, out of Tennessee. They provided me with a studio set-up that is top of the line (lights, backdrops, props, camera, etc.), and I travel to private schools and preschools in South Florida, shooting professional portraits. Teddy Bear Portraits does incredible work: http://www.teddybearportraits.com
The thing about photography? It’s complex – there’s a lot to learn and getting a handle on the technical aspect of using the camera is not easy, but I’m getting there and learning new things every time I pick up my camera.
I love photographing people and kids – but my passion – my favorite things to photograph are landscapes and wildlife – I love being outdoors with the birds and the bugs!
Anyway, I’m working really hard at photography – to make the dream happen. The truth is, times are tough, but I’m owning the dream and going for it 100%.
So, that’s what I’ve been up to.
Here are a few of my recent captures:
A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
Edgar Allan Poe
For analysis of the poem:
Click the link below for the full Edgar Allan Poe message from the WOW Catcher blog.
“A dream within a dream” – Edgar Allan Poe.
Thankfully, I’m not looking or feeling down!!
I’m feeling the opposite of down largely because I begin my new job on Tuesday!! Yesterday, though, I went to Zoo Miami and captured some photos that I think are sweet “down” photos.
The animals were really lively yesterday – they were surely enjoying the beautiful South Florida weather. Some of the animals, like the Gorillas, were having fun just being sleepy. And the Giraffes, well…. their life involves always looking down – they fit the bill rather well.
So, here are the photos for my interpretation of “Down.” I guess you could say this is my interpretation of an animal’s down-time…. :)
Here’s a gorilla that we resemble, don’t you think? He’s either feeling pretty down about something, or his head is itchy! I’d wager his head is itchy!
And here he is…. praying?
And here’s another gorilla snoozing in the grass, under the shade of big rocks:
And here a lovely giraffe is doing what they usually do…. look down onto those of us below:
Darn! I’ve been under the weather these past couple of days with something that feels like the flu but it’s not as bad as the flu but it’s wiped me out.
It started Saturday night after I came home from seeing an old Neil Simon play called, “Last of the Red Hot Lovers.” It was a good production – very funny. But, for about ten minutes before curtain and during intermission, I was craning and straining my neck to chat with people sitting behind me, like this:
I knew I was straining my neck, but never realized I’d disable it completely.
Only today has the pain subsided. But what it left in its wake is a horrible clogged throat and head and nose blah. It can’t decide if it wants to be a reasonably common cold, or a hateful and feverish flu.
So, I’ve laid on the couch and in the bed waiting for it to decide how mean and nasty it wants to treat me.
I think I’m getting better though. I finally got out of my PJ’s and into real clothes.
Now, for the good news…..
I got a job! I don’t have the written offer yet….so it’s not a completely done deal, but I have a start date! It’s February 20th.
And it’s a good one, too! I’m not going to jinx it by talking too much about it. I can tell you that it’s a good company, with super nice people!
Here’s the bad news though…. I had to tell Microsoft that I have another job. I emailed the recruiter today.
I was still in the interview process with Microsoft. I’d had 3 interviews and the 4th one was not scheduled until next week. This meant I’d have to stall on the job I’d just accepted to wait for Microsoft. I didn’t want to do that. Plus, if I had gotten denied by Microsoft and I’d put off the other job, I’d be the real loser.
I didn’t want to play games or gamble. I sent my Microsoft recruiter an email and said thank you for considering me and….. I hated to send that email.
So….I didn’t get this:
Then again, I love the job that I got – I am very excited about it – it’s a perfect fit in so many ways and I am very happy.
So, my “that’s life” file is looking pretty good.
(I still heart Microsoft.)
Although this little fellow looks somewhat miffed at being in the rain, I am happily enjoying the fact that it’s raining (opportunities) for me…
There’s one really good opportunity, with a company and people I really like, there’s still Microsoft, too….. I’ll have an update soon.
In the meantime, Happy Friday everyone…. I’ll be back with a story soon!
The process of transforming / experimenting with colors is great fun. Here’s a very simple photo that I edited using both Adobe Lightroom 4 and Microsoft PowerPoint.
Below is the original:
I should be asleep, and dreaming – but I got caught up in colors! It’s fascinating how easy it is to manipulate colors on the computer. I’m engrossed with the experimentation of re-coloring.
Since the peacock is full of rich colors anyway, he makes a great canvas to play with.
This is a first draft of the peacock – I’m not totally satisfied with the clarity – not yet. And, speaking of clarity…..
My vision is improving. I am seeing the importance of passion – only just lately. Truly, it’s everything. Passion is everything. creating is everything. Creating wonderful work is everything.
passion is a pretty good guide. (Epiphany alert!!)
I used to think i was too passionate about work. But work has to be passionately wonderful. If it’s not, why do it at all? For money alone? No.
There’s a difference between “work” and work. In the past I thought personal success was measured by how much money I could make. And, in a sense it is, but it’s not integral, passion is first.
It’s about passion first, then money will come. It’s about creating and doing the work I love to do. That’s it. Well, it’s about time I figured that out!
Life is good.
The writer, Henry James wrote:
We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
Although spoken by one of Henry James’s characters, these words were also his personal credo. James truly feared his work would forever stay in the dark, forgotten.
After the release of a few of his novels, namely Portrait of a Lady (1881), he released many more short and full-length novels, but few were popular. He knew criticism more than he knew acceptance of his writing. Of course, after his death, in 1916, at age 72, he is now revered as the master he always was.
This Henry James quote reminds me of the theatre – working in the theatre. It’s all passion and madness and love, it is not always a normal life when one lives it. But, it is love and passion. And so is the brilliant musical I saw last night.
The show was chilling and lovely and scary and electric and I couldn’t speak when it ended.
Tears dripped on my blouse down to my lap, wetting my theatre program. I wasn’t the only one crying. Maybe I was the only one with out a tissue, though, but a kind woman gave me one of the cocktail napkins she held on to.
I don’t want to give away any part of the story – if you have a chance to see it, you’ll want to be surprised. It’s best to see it without any preconceptions. It will add to the magic for you, like it did for me.
I grew up in the theatre and love the magic and the passion and the madness and the love that is beyond words when a great play hits you in the gut.
There are a few musicals that will never leave me. I’ve seen many, but cling to a few; Next to Normal is one of those – probably the best among all the greats I’ve seen.
It’s like the musical Rent, edgy, amazing and now. It’s rock and roll and light opera and psychology and slice of life – all in one incredibly structured and fluid and dynamic powerful package.
Next to Normal, is playing for four weeks at the Miracle Theatre, in Coral Gables, Florida. (By the way, I was in the inaugural show, A Thousand Clowns, which opened the Miracle Theatre! picture below!)
Next to Normal is also touring across the Unites States. Catch it if you can – you’ll be so glad you dd.
There’s a reason why it won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award in 2009.
Well, we made it! It’s officially 2012. Unbelievable, isn’t it?
I’m looking forward to this brand new year. I don’t know what’s coming, but it’s going to be good. It’s going to be a great year!
There are some things I don’t like about a new year. I don’t enjoy doing taxes, not even when I get money back. I just don’t like doing it! And the holiday bills. The indulgences and over-spending always comes back to haunt me and I end up hating life for a couple of days. And, the resolution I hope to keep but never do….. The D. I. E. T. Oy. It’s the one resolution we all make, I suppose. I always make it, then break it, then make it again the first time I put on a pair of jeans that should fit but don’t and are so tight they barely move past my knees. This year, as every year, I gained cookie, cake and brownie pounds because my face went into every party plate which was more like a cow-trough than anything.
That was then, this is now, one more year to get the diet dilemma right!
Anyway, the first day of 2012 went by so fast! 2012 will probably go by just as fast as 2011 did, if we’re lucky, I guess. The older I get the faster times flies. Growing older makes time go faster and end shorter in equal measure. Well, that’s life, isn’t it?
I sure hope everyone is enjoying this holiday weekend! Here’s a little gift from me. I’m enclosing a few of my mixed-media experiments that I hope will bring you cheer! If you’d care to give me feedback on these images – good or bad – I would appreciate it so much.
Mixed Media Creations:
This first one is a photograph that I added a little shimmer to:
This second one is a lovely gazebo that I’ve changed to look like a painting using dots of paint, kind of like the style of the artist Georges Seurat.
This is a photo I took on a river in Winter Park, Florida. At the end of the river bend, a white boat house waits:
Here’s another version of the gazebo I’ve made to appear blue:
Another version of the gazebo – I wanted to make it feel as if it shimmered:
I played with the colors of a Hummingbird. This is the same photo I posted earlier this week for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge:
:nd finally, here is a photo of birds sitting in a cypress tree in the middle of the river. I guess I’m into the color blue today because I washed this image in blue:
I would really love your feedback on these photos – good or BAD feedback is welcomed and appreciated!
I’ve uploaded all these images here: http://andrea-oconnell.artistwebsites.com/
And this day, like so many other December 25’s in Florida, is HOT!
Merry Christmas to those who observe it, and best wishes for a happy 6th (I think) day of Chanukah, too.
It’s a very quiet morning. Relaxing. Nice.
Well, Jazz is having a bad morning. My brother’s dog, the gigantic puppy, Buster, as usual, relentlessly pursues Jazz, egging him on with a push of his paw and a little nip on the rear end. When that doesn’t move Jazz, Buster jumps in the air in a “U” shape – his four legs straight up from the ground – go up and over Jazz, only to land and have his legs nipped at by Jazz’s jaws…. snapping, snapping, snapping… Buster is too fast and Jazz’s snapping isn’t precisely aimed but sometimes he manages to get a hold of some part of Buster’s skin. Jazz’s snapping jaws, though they aim at Buster in rapid-fire snaps like a machine gun gone ballistic, don’t do any harm to him though.
It’s hilarious to see them. I can’t decide if Jazz is playing or if he’s petrified because his tail wags but his eyes roll back in his head and his lips stay permanently in place, over his gums. Buster is absolutely playing, that’s clear…. The verdict is still out on Jazz’s level of enjoyment.
This morning the grass was dewy and Jazz refused to step out on the big-grass-john in the backyard. So I picked him up and walked him out further in the grass, getting my fuzzy slippers nice and wet – I put him down on the grass, but he immediately tip-toed away, gingerly in the grass like a ballet dancer with a broken toe, back to the patio and dry ground. He tiptoed, broken-toed style, through the screen door and to the pool area where he proceeded to do you know what right by the pool.
The morning is quiet. Mom and my brother are reading the paper – the New York Times. And a John Wayne movie is on the TV, in the background.
Last night we watched the Oldie Goldie movie “Margie.” It was shot in 1946, and shows a grown-up Margie reminiscing about her high school years in the 1920’s, to her teen-aged daughter.
The setting was 1928 and a young Margie, a senior in high school, keeps losing her “bloomers” to great dramatic effect. Seriously, the elastic in her bloomers broke three times in the movie! It wasn’t really a theme – ha! Or any sub-plot, per se, but each loss of one of her errant bloomers did push the plot ahead. One especially “dramatic” bloomer loosening happened on the ice-skating rink. To cover the embarrassment of losing her bloomers, Margie feigns fainting.
Oh Fiddlesticks! was Margie’s refrain when things were confusing or got out of hand – or when one’s bloomers were unruly.
Of course today it would be, “Oh, isn’t this a farting-fuck! Shit, I lost my thong,” purposely getting as many swear words into the sentence as possible then publicly pronouncing and publishing the event all over Facebook. Whereas Margie, humiliated, horrified, is overcome with tears at her bloomer bust.
Anyway, the movie was very sweet. Haddie McDaniel played the housekeeper. Jeanne Crain, was Margie. Haddie McDaniel, you may remember, won the Academy Award for her performance as “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind.
I’m not sure what is in store for the rest of the day. I know the dog-park is on our agenda and my brother is cooking us a nice lunch….kind of scary, to be honest. He’ll probably need an editor. Well mom is here – thankfully, I’m hardly a cook and proud of it!
Anyway, that’s a piece of my 2011 Christmas. I’d like to share the funniest story, written by my niece, about her plane trip from New York to Tallahassee. It’s so damn funny – brilliant humor, and I am not being prejudiced, you’ll see:
So I’m on this flight from NYC to Charlotte today, it’s super-delayed on the tarmac and I’m sitting next to two people about my age who did not know each other but talked so loud that I shared that ugh i know ARE THEY EVEN HUMAN? look about them with two separate people. I would give some examples of their conversation but it would be too painful for me to revisit. Okay wait I can’t help but remember: the girl kept joking about us being in the exit row and DYING and when there was turbulence she was like, “Am I going to have to pull this lever?” (to open the door!) and I had just read that fucking, fucking article about the french guys crashing the plane in the Atlantic and it was all I could think about (this plane crashing) meanwhile this unstable woman with a extra large coolatta was making jokes about pulling open the goddamn emergency exit.
Anyway so halfway through I really have to pee and I’m telling myself stuff like, “Okay, as soon as you finish this chapter, you can pee.” (along with musing about how I’d react if I found out the plane was going down) Then I realized I could pee when I wanted because I am an adult human so I put my book away and started sheepishly assessing the situation. See, the seatbelt light was on but I always forget if that means Don’t move around or, Fine move around but if you’re sitting down, put on your seatbelt. I figured it was the latter because that’s what I wanted so I found a way to justify it. Then I looked right and left. No one was up and about to reassure me I wouldn’t get “in trouble.” I craned my neck to see what the fight attendi were doing. They buckled in in the back, but I decided to LIVE ON THE EDGE and then to go to the bathroom in the front since it was closer and there was some turbulence but fuck it right? I’m an adult.
So I got up half-expecting to get yelled at (as always) but creeped on forward in my newish boots and then stopped and stood frozen under the glowing green bathroom sign when I couldn’t find the fucking door to push in and crawl inside. Ahhh. I felt the eyes of every human on the plane on me while I squinted into dark corners and wondered if I was about to walk into the cockpit . but was like whatever guys, I can do this. Then a flight attendant from the back GRABS THE MIC and says in a fluster, JUST A REMINDER THAT THE FIRST CLASS LAVATORIES ARE RESERVED FOR FIRST CLASS PASSENGERS ONLY.
Cut to me wandering around first class like a lost puppy. This lady is basically telling me, from the back of the plane, over the loudspeaker to get the fuck out of the first class section. WHAT? So I SPIN around on my heels (rather amazingly I might add) to face THE ENTIRE PLANE, shrug dramatically and say SORRY EVERYONE! in the most teenage, sarcastic tone of voice. I don’t even know where this audacity came from. But I saw this sea of faces staring at me and rolling their eyes at the situation and laughing with me and literally like, making little comments of solidarity as I walked past. Like I just committed this brave act, crossing enemy lines to pee into a little toilet vacuum. I mean people were truly making eye contact and saying like, “Come ON!” and, “Oh like they are all just LINED UP up there waiting to get into the bathroom!” And I just nodded and shrugged and wanted to like, high five everyone as I cruised by, but instead made some kind of bad kid in the back of the class type of dramatic exhalations then sauntered, victoriously, all the way to the back of the godforsaken plane, where the flight attendants would not look at me, and peed in my proletariat toilet (proletoilet).
Anyway there was total class warfare going on in the sky somewhere over, I dunno, Virginia, today and it was amazing.
Link to above: http://meaghano.com/post/14595368874/impt
It was an out of the blue, spur of the moment thing when I opened my Amazon store this past Thursday.
I have to give it to Amazon – they are great marketers – so clever. They know how to sell; they do it so well, they make you look like a seller, too.
How I happened to open my own little store was simple. As I was browsing through the book section, Amazon displayed books that I’d previously purchased from them and suggested I sell those purchases as an Amazon seller.
Hmmm…. I thought… I do like that idea. (It’s brilliant how they market.)
When you go to the Amazon site, they recognize your IP address and automatically bring up suggestions for future purchases (based on your purchase history thus far) and they also show you what you’ve previously purchased. It’s Customer Relationship Marketing, and they do it really well.
I mainly buy books at Amazon, and they presented a bunch of books that I could sell with my own Amazon store. And I thought some more about it and I again said, “Hmmm.” It sounds pretty darn interesting!
I took about an hour and figured out how to create a store and sell things and that was that. I gave my store a name, and bingo! I’m selling like mad with over 16 sales a;ready and have made over $400 dollars, too! Amazon does most of the work – the only thing I have to do is pack and ship.
The majority of my sales have been Wii video games. I had a dozen, or so, Wii games that I had never used; little did I know how popular those games were. Literally one hour after I opened my “store” I had already sold 3 games. Since then, I’ve sold four books, too. The total items I’ve sold so far: 16.
I put a couple of watches I’d purchased but never wear, in my Amazon store, too. I got the watches at a really good price and hopefully will make a little profit reselling them. Maybe. If they sell….
If you need to make a little extra holiday money, or you should you want to start your own e-business, it is a snap to do it!
My little Amazon store is: Andrea’s Book Nook
If you ever thought about trying to sell on Amazon, but are unsure how to begin, do it anyway! It’s fun! Amazon has made it pretty easy for people to set up a business. And, if you needed any tips or help, let me know – I’ll be happy to help.
It’s going to be a God-send after all the holiday bills!
I love to dream. I wish I could remember every detail, but I never can.
One of the best and most vivid of my dreams happened after a dear friend died suddenly. She was my boss when I worked at American Express. We had grown very close and I loved her. I was devastated when she died and had a difficult time overcoming the anger I felt that she was gone. She had three young children, too. That was the worst part…..
One night, after she’d been gone nearly three months, she came to visit me in a dream. It was not like my normal dreams, which are usually really colorful and wild. This dream was focused -very sedated, or maybe soft is a better word to describe how it felt.
The interesting thing about this dream? There were two me’s. There was the me sleeping and laying there, doing the dreaming. Then, there was the me who talked to Jean while my sleeping self laid there. I knew I was dreaming that I was looking down at myself dreaming…. but still, it was more real than a dream
It was like a dream within a dream within a dream that was real. Does that make sense?
Hah! Probably not!
Well, my dreaming self (while I knew the me looking down at myself dreaming was also dreaming, it was so real at the time and in retrospect, too.
I remember asking if she visited her kids because they missed her so much.
She told me they were doing fine. She said she worried about me – needed me to stop crying. She wanted to tell me she was happy and I needed to stop worrying and start living. That was the essence of the message.
I can’t sit here and say, with 100 percent certainty that it was an out-of-body experience, or anything like that. But somehow, I know that is what it was. I can’t say with certainty, but I feel certain about it. One thing I am certain about, I felt better from then on….
In another dream, I heard the name Susan B. Anthony and shown a coin of some kind that her profile was on. I didn’t know what it meant, but it was vivid.
I was in my twenties and had never heard the name Susan B. Anthony. And I didn’t know that, in about a six months later, her picture would be on the new one dollar coin. Then, when it was announced in the news and in the paper, that she would be the first woman to be honored on a coin, and I saw her picture and the picture of the coin, I was shocked. It was exactly what I’d seen in my dream!
I didn’t tell anyone for years about it because I thought no one would believe me, and why in the world would I be dreaming of a woman from the 1800, and why would I see the coin?
I didn’t second-guess myself about what I saw, I knew what I’d seen. But I didn’t know WHY I’d seen it! I still don’t know why. It seemed very strange to me and I told no one about it until years later.
It was a strange premonition!
Anyway, I’m still listening and dreaming with my eyes wide open – now more than ever.
I know this is going from the sick to the sublime and I’d intended to write more about the military disposal of US Soldiers…..
Well, this story was flat-out more important.
This is a Flat Stanley story (the travel-driven picture-project that first-graders trick you into doing for them).
Well, in truth, my brother was tapped to do this project for Elizabeth, our niece, but he roped me in knowing I’d never flat-out refuse.
Below is the story for Elizabeth’s first grade class about Flat Stanley’s travels in Winter Park, Florida
Flat as a pancake, he was. Naturally you’d think he would squeeze-in and fit anywhere. Well, that would be true if not for the wind. You see, the wind was his problem. He was so flat the wind would lift him up and take him away quicker than you could say “pancake.” When the wind blew him hither and yon, he’d be very lost and a little bit afraid.
One day the wind blew him, still flat as a pancake, to Elizabeth’s First Grade class. All of Elizabeth’s friends immediately loved him. (Well, he was cute. They couldn’t help but love him.)
Elizabeth was the first to talk to him, she said, “What’s your name?” “They call me Stanley,” he told her, “and I don’t know where I am. Am I somewhere special? ” he asked a little sadly.
“Yes, you’re in our class! The kids screamed happily. Then Elizabeth asked, “Where did you come from, Stanley?”
“I don’t know. I blew in,” said Stanley, starting to cry. “You see, I’m flat and so any wind takes me places and it’s scary.”
“Oh my,” gasped Elizabeth. “Yes,” cried Stanley, “If you blow on me, I could end up anywhere, that’s how flat I am.”
Really crying now, Stanley said, “I am so flat, I fly anywhere the wind blows me. But I want to go places by choice, not just where the wind wants to take me.” Then poor Stanley said, sniffling, “That’s why I can’t stop crying. I want to go places where I am loved.”
“We’ll help you, Stanley!” cried Elizabeth! And all the kids cheered, “Yes, we’ll help, too!”
Quietly amazed, Stanley asked, “You will? You would really help me? Even though I could fly away and be lost any minute because I’m so flat?”
“Yes,” promised Elizabeth. “You should go to places that are fun and where people will love and take good care of you.”
“Yes! But, I’m so flat! What if they don’t like me?!” Stanley cried.
“It’s okay to be flat, Stanley. You are you and you are loved! We’d love you if you were big or too tall; small, or too wide; Fat or too flat, Stanley!“ Elizabeth assured Stanley. “Flat is fun, Stanley! You should be proud to be flat, Stanley! Elizabeth’s classmates all exclaimed.
Then, Elizabeth said, “I know! We’re going to call you Flat Stanley!”
Stanley got excited, and jumping up and down he hollered, “Yaaaaay! Okay! I’ll be that name.” Stanley was roaring happy and said, “I’ll be Flat Stanley! I always wanted two names! I always wanted to have a first and a last name. I’m Flat Stanley now!” said Stanley as he jumped, or rather floated, up and down on the air!
Then Flat Stanley paused, and said, “But, I don’t know where to go. Where will I go?”
Elizabeth had a great idea, and said, “I know! Since you are flat, Stanley, we can mail you to lots of fun places! We will mail you to our aunts and uncles and friends, too. They’ll take you places and you’ll be loved, Flat Stanley,” said Elizabeth, excitedly.
Another kid chimed in and said, “Yeah, and they’ll mail you back to us so you can tell us all a story about your travels!”
And so the travels of Flat Stanley began. Elizabeth sent Flat Stanley to Winter Park, Florida. He had fun in Winter Park. Oh, he had loads of fun!
Here are the things Stanley saw and the places he went in Winter Park, Florida.
(p.s. Flat Stanley had fun, but is very happy to be back in Elizabeth’s First Grade Class again.)
Click to enlarge the picture:
Hillary is speaking from Geneva in this wonderful talk about Human Rights and the GLBT community.