iStock, fear and me

“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help you are freed.” Buddha


I have been a Buddhist for almost 15 years, what drew me to Buddhism was the idea of constantly attempting to create a better you and the concept of karma. Buddhism has taught me many things over the years, I agree with a lot of its basic teachings. I try to live for moments, I try to be selfless, I try to not be materialistic and I try to always help others over myself. My life’s goal is to leave this world slightly better than how I found it. This ideal has led me to pursue 3 different careers in my now almost 41 years of age.

What drew me to photography was the idea of capturing moments for families to enjoy, celebrate and treasure. I would like to help people always remember the many joys in their lives, whether it be through a wedding, celebrating a new infant, capturing a day in a family, a loved pet or various portraits. My photography business has just celebrated its 1 year anniversary and I have acquired quite a few returning clients. I have not reached the point in my business where I am ready to open my own studio separate from my home, though it is on the horizon. I would like to continue to reach clients I have never met and “get my name out there”.

Someone suggested selling photos on iStock as a way to make a little extra money and help “get my name out there”. I have a natural tendency to jump into new ideas head on, and then second guess. I usually ignore the second guess and eventually enjoy the decision. I became a member of iStock yesterday, true to form, I was initially thrilled, and fear and a feeling of inadequacy soon overwhelmed me. I am self-taught, so after looking through their screening and application process I felt very much like a kinder gardener looking at graduate students.

After talking to my groom about it last night and this morning, I decided to begin the long process. I have some material to read, pass a quiz and submit 3 photos of what I feel my best work is. That to me is like picking a favorite child, I have narrowed down 3 photos, I have my clients’ permission, model releases and waivers and well wish ready to go.





No matter what happens approved or not, we cannot let the fear of failure or new things overwhelm us. Buddhism teaches that the saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.”





Pressure makes diamonds

“Pressure makes diamonds” George Patton

As I shared in a previous blog, I was asked to be the photographer for the Army unit I was attached to. My first professional camera was an older Nikon DSLR that we bought used and it came with a 50mm lens that was ONLY manual. (Most lenses offer automatic focus and manual.)

The manual focus was quite the challenge. I equate it to learning to drive for the first time ever with a standard car. (Which is exactly how I learned to drive.)

Manual focus requires a steady hand and a skill level that took me quite some time to build. If your hand is not steady and you do not focus your subject quickly, your photo will be blurry and useless. Since I love candid photography, I found that life moves quickly, and you need to be prepared for it. Some battle assemblies are filled with a lot down time, so, I had plenty of time to practice. Once I was asked to capture training and promotion ceremonies, the pressure grew.

Manual focus does enable you to capture images with a beautiful depth of field that can be breathtaking. Here are some of my diamonds (captures).


I love the sun light in her hair and I love the softness I was able to capture in this photo. I used a blue diffuser on my external flash.

A re-enlistment ceremony.


A soldier in the middle of combative training.


I love the clarity and depth of field in this photo.


This was taken on a gloomy overcast day.


Taken with a pocket wizard (tethered light).


Taken on a sunny day with a blue pop up flash diffuser.


Taken on an overcast day with a warm diffuser on my external flash.

If you make the time to learn, acquire skills and prepare yourself for any situation in life that may come your way, you can learn to use your pressure to create your diamonds.

Let a family begin

“Marriage is the agreement to let a family happen.” BETTY JANE WYLIE, Family: An Exploration

As a photographer and a Buddhist I treasure the simple pleasures in life. I have had the pleasure of capturing “moments in time” of happy couples before a wedding, at a wedding, at a party or spending time with their children or each other. Families come in many shapes and sizes and no relationship is the same though I have seen some common threads that stitch their families together like kindness and laughter.

My husband Wes and I have been married for just over 20 months, I know this because we celebrate our wedding anniversary every 30 days. (We lived together for a year before we married.) The celebrations are not elaborate, a dressed up dinner out is rare; it is usually a homemade breakfast in bed or a homemade meal at home with good quality Belgium beer. (We are beer snobs.)

For us, the simple act of celebrating so often keeps us close. We try to always say please and thank you and we try to never take the other for granted. We try to never scream of use profanity in front of one another or at each other. Because of my husband’s current school schedule we often spend 18 hours a day together, every day. We never run out of things to say to one another and we laugh constantly. We have 3 adopted pets, each is spoiled rotten and we love them more than words can allow me to describe. We have become a family.

Families come in all shapes and sizes and your kindness and laughter may show itself in your relationships (and families) in different ways than ours does, but, if you are happy it is there. Here are some of my favorite couple/family moments.

Jessica and Geoff, engagement photo shoot, her laugh was genuine and the love they feel for one another can be felt in the air.


Eydie and Chris, holiday card photo shoot, she was pregnant with their 3rd child and they have wonderful senses of humor as you can see.


Sandy, Marc and Adin, family photo shoot, they are one of the loveliest, kindest couples I have ever met. I think you can feel it just by looking at this image.


Christina and Mike, maternity photo shoot, they were just about to have their first child. I will never forget how caring, kind and attentive he was to her, it was incredibly sweet.


Mike and Nicola, family photo shoot, I absolutely love the look in her eyes, they didn’t know I was taking this photo, their 2 young boys were running wild, Wes was trying to get them to come back.


Mollie and James, engagement photo shoot, they are both wrestlers, I especially love this because it was just after a MMA fight pose.


Me and Wes, couple photo shoot, I still feel this way, I love him with my entire heart, even when he forgets to pull the shower curtain back after a shower. (I will share more in a future blog.)


No matter the shape or size of your family, if you let love in, a family will begin, find yours and never let them go.