Friday, August 17, 2007

Cautiously Optimistic...

I just arrived home from a quick commissary/Mia clothes shopping trip (only minorly successful on the latter) to a message from Shelia referencing a call-back. Oh please don't tell me I have a do-over!

I returned the call, and she said that Serena Nicole wants to sit with me to go over what I shot (that right there is worth any disappointment I might feel at the end of all this) and make some recommendations, and then have me back for an HOUR shoot! Oh my goodness - what I could do with an hour....

Details are - Wednesday evening at 8 I'll meet with Serena Nicole at her place to go over the pictures. I'll be donning my listening ears, giant eyes, and a notebook - or maybe I should bring the video camera? Just kidding. But only a little. And then she'll go over the pictures I took (it has seriously been so hard to live without knowing if I got anything worthwhile) and make recommendations for the next shoot. I'm ALL ears.

Then, Sunday the 26th at 9am, I'll be shooting a family of 3 (almost 3-year-old daughter with parents) at a location to be announced later. For an HOUR. Sigh.... how excited am I?! Once again, butterflies.

I'm so happy, I'm trying to reason it out - like maybe she called back everyone from yesterday's shoot because it didn't really go as planned. But I hope it's because she sees something, so that's how I'll think of it. For now.

Last Day of Swim Class

Mia with Miss Sea Turtle, her Level 3 swim teacher - Miss Sea Turtle is from Cleveland, here for the summer on a program with all the other camp teachers/lifeguards from colleges around the country. Most are early education majors, and it was a bittersweet day for them as they were leaving their summer friends!
Mackenzie was wearing the same Target swimsuit that Mia had on! So cute.
Mia with Miss Coral - from Sydney, Ohio - she taught her last session in level 2. These girls were so sweet, Mia had a great time and will miss them so much!

The rest of today's pictures can be viewed here. Enjoy! Oh - and I've already been asked to do some photography for a fundraiser - and possibly for a baseball team's group shots! I have to keep carrying that camera around....

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Today's Shoot

Well, the good news is it's behind me.

I arrived at 4:15pm for the 4:30 shoot (yes, still habitually early) and met Shelia, Serena Nicole's assistant. She's so sweet, and I signed a release and got ready - then met Serena Nicole. Also super sweet. She said the family was running late, so I ran around, got my white balance, thought of a few ideas for the family of SIX (they told me as I took out my camera - parents & 4 kids!) I would be shooting.

A short while later the cell phone rang, they got into a fender bender in the parking lot and now would be tied up with the Japanese Police & waiting for MPs (as I've mentioned before in this blog, you do NOT want to get in a car accident with a local). You are at fault. Period. American - you chose to drive here.

Anyway, Shelia saved the day and called her hubby who brought Emerson, their adorable 20-month-old daughter. Not unusual for that age, she was strong-willed and after a few short minutes of trying to make it work by the pirate ship, we were headed for the water! (Mia would've done the exact same at that age.) Shelia totally warned me of that probability before they came, so I saw it coming.

The light was low, it was hot, and there were a lot of other people at the site. Suffice it all to say it was more of a challenge than expected, but I hopefully snapped a couple of decent shots. It was a learning experience I'm very thankful for. I'm hopeful and confident that a business-savvy talent like Serena Nicole will consider more than just our "15 minutes of fame", as it were. And no matter what I do look forward to the class starting in January. I just have no clue how that woman does it all! I'm really impressed. She should give a business class too!

In the "small world" category, the woman who arrived to shoot after me introduces herself and I realize she's Meredith from the Okinawa Hai! blog I've been reading! I had just emailed her to try to arrange a meet over some coffee, and there she was telling me she had just read my email (in which I'd told her I was going to the shoot-off) and was thinking, "how funny, I'm going there too." So we weathered the turn of events together, and she was funny and fun and I do hope we'll grab that coffee - or something more potent - sometime soon.

So - now we wait! I'll hear whatever I hear next week. Thank you to everyone who has given me praise, confidence, well-wishes, criticism, etc. I do appreciate you!

Too Fun!

Just LOOK at these gorgeous kids I shot at the pool today. Mia's last swim lesson is tomorrow - well, not her last lesson, more of a party day with a pot luck. If the weather holds up I may take a few more because it was such fun - and the moms are so appreciative & excited about it.

It's 1pm.... it's been showering on & off, but I'm hoping it'll hold. Waiting impatiently.....

Waiting Is Torture

First of all... MMMMos Burger. (To bad it isn't MAS Burger, I know, Michael. It stands for Mountains, Ocean, Sun.) This place, in existence for 35 years last month, is just the bomb. Amazing burgers. Apparently the biggest burger chain in Japan next to McDonald's. This is the Japanese Menu, but it has pictures of the foods.

Yesterday I had the kaisen kakiage rice burger:

I'm not a mayo fan, so I got it without the mayo-based sauce, but it was definitely in need of a bit something more. However, it was DELICIOUS - a bun made out of rice, and a fritter in between made from scallops, shrimp, calamari, carrot & asparagus. And the burgers rock too - and they have milkshakes and a very nice staff. Not expensive at all either. Worthy of the first picture of the post & high praise.

Secondly - after Mia's swim class and before her ballet class I stopped at the auto shop on Kadena to see about Craig's tire (I figured I'd make an appointment if it was going to take forever). Japanese guys run it - dude comes out, looks at the busted tire's size, peeks at a tall rack of Dunlops and says, "I have that one."
"Ok, great! How long?"
"I change it now."
"Oh good! How much time will it take?"
"...15 minutes."

He lied. It took ten. And it costed $46 out the door. Dang... that was easy! THANK GOODNESS!

Here's a frameworthy picture of our kid from last night's session - as you can tell by the light, very close to sunset. I emailed it to Les in hopes that he can make that hair in the left side of her mouth disappear magically with his Photoshop wand. Then it really will go in a frame.

My cuties.
Craig was picking her up & throwing her around - of course, she hated that.

After he put her down, I got this great shot - I think this was my favorite. Shortly after this shot, Mia fell and scraped her knee which ended the family pictures. She is fine, just a lot of crying & drama.The gorgeous sunset we caught. I really hope it doesn't rain today as predicted, I'd love to get this shoot thing behind me and just see how it goes. Waiting would be torture!

Think good thoughts. Oh, and since the sunset is at about 7, they pushed me back to 4:30 - good & bad. Good because the light will be much better, bad because it'll still be very hot. Hopefully some icy drinks and a smile will help that situation!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Some Photos

Why did it take a "shoot off" for me to get out & play more with the camera? I guess because the appreciation of family and friends is great. And I love taking pictures and it makes me happy to document my kid and get some praise from my husband and others. But doing something I love this much for people I don't know, people whose appreciation I can see in their eyes when they see my pictures of their families, would be so fulfilling and sweet.

Yesterday afternoon at around 2pm it was cloudy but not dark. Unfortunately most of the pictures I shot on the sculptures, steps and platforms around Araha Beach annoyed the kid because she had to squint. "I really can't do this anymore, Mama - it's too bright, it hurts my eyes." SUFFER FOR MY CRAFT, CHILD!

(for those who don't realize it, when you click on the pictures you may see a bigger version of them)

Now I'm bummed that I don't get to play with the pictures after I take them. Lightroom rocks. I took a white balance at the beginning, but forgot to underneath a red awning where I shot a couple of these where she's lying down. You can tell on one of them I think, but the other is a pretty good fix job.

Not loving the "foot zoom" as it's called, but I'll be at it again tonight. My shoot is at 7 - hope it isn't as dark at 7 as it was last night or we'll be dealing with grainy high-ISO shots instead!

And dear readers, I'd really appreciate an honest opinion about these - you can email me or post comments. Critique away! I'll post more tomorrow, I'm taking my neighbor's family with me hopefully.

On another note - Craig got a flat on the way home yesterday. Thankfully it happened about 6 blocks away so I went to pick him up and he changed, we ate, and then went back to fix it. But lucky me - I get to take Mia to swim & ballet today and then run the car over to the shop on Kadena and hope it doesn't take hours to fix. Good times.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Well, I was hunting for a digital photography class, and found one through Serena Nicole (fabulous website can be viewed here). It doesn't start until January, but she's a local American artsy photographer, and I'd love to learn more about my camera.

I mentioned to my neighbor Leighanne that I was signing up for the class (she knows I'm a bit of a hobby photographer) and she said she was pretty sure she's interviewing for a photographer & an assistant. Hm... what do I have to lose?

Due to having to email her about the class times/location/payment, I'd been emailing a bit with Serena Nicole, and so I figured I'd ask about the job openings if there were any. Well, there are - and she sent me a site to apply. I filled out the online form (pretty much basic stuff like what experience I had and why I felt I should be considered for the job). Not even 2 hours later, the phone rang and it was Shelia, Serena Nicole's assistant. SO sweet, she went on to tell me they're having a "shoot-off" for all the applicants, and can I come to Araha Beach (the Pirate Ship beach I mentioned in a previous post) with my camera at 7pm on Thursday to take pictures of a family. Um, um, um - yeah, sure! Ok...

Here's the email Shelia sent me after I spoke with her:

Hello Everyone,

Here is the information as promised!

Who: All of you who want to tryout for a chance to be on the SNS team of PHOTOGRAPHERS – how exciting!

What: Photography Shoot-off to show your ability to shoot and adapt to a particular style.

Where: Shipwrecked Park (Araha Beach)

When: You already have the times!

Why: Well that one is just plain silly.

The Job:

So here is the skinny. I am not looking for you to shoot like me. That is not what ‘vision’ I have for the new studio. I want it to be hip, young, and modern. What do I mean by that? I have attached pictures that encompass the style that I am after. They are copyrighted to other photographers so please be respectful of their rights – but I wanted you to be able to visualize what I am after.

If you choose to take this position you will be asked to work roughly 6 SESSION hours a week. We will work with you to get the best schedule as possible for your needs keeping in mind hours that are needed to keep clients happy too.

This position will be for photography only. No editing will be required. At the end of the session you will hand off your cf card to your assistant and will be hands off from that point on! So no HOMEWORK!! I have an editor that I have hired to do all editing for us!

You will be provided an assistant to help you with whatever you need on the shoot. More training on that once hired.

Thursday’s shoot-off:

You will be given a cf card to capture your images by Shelia. Please return this cf card to Shelia at the end of your 15 minutes. All DSLR camera’s use cf cards to capture images please let us know if you have any issue with using a cf card.

You may be a part of the shoot-off with a point and shoot camera – but will be expected to OWN and use a DSLR camera proficiently once/before hired. There will also be specific lenses required as well. (50 mm 1.8 AND 85mm. 1.8 – inexpensive and amazing!!)

(she attached pictures, but they're copyrighted so I've removed them)

ACK! Nervous, but very excited, thank you SO much, Craig for taking me out at 7pm last night to play with the camera a bit.
I'll be practicing all week - and I'll also hit the park to take some pictures and re-examine the setting before I go. I'm confident, however I'm also nervous because it's one shot to show what I got! So everyone reading this, think good photo juju for Thursday.

I threw together a portfolio (thanks to having such wonderful friends & families to shoot in San Diego & Ohio!!) here:

And Serena Nicole's response was (when I sent her the pictures and also asked how many people are "shooting off"):
"I am loving your pics and your personality! Cant wait until Thursday pm.

We have several trying, now I cant spoil all the fun!!

You will be the only one shooting at your time!

Hope that helps :)

Hugs and thanks for the pics - they are darling.


Gulp. Well, it'll be a great experience, and even if I just get to be an assistant sometimes or whatever, I'll take it! Craig said, "Shoot I'd work for free just for the learning experience and the resume builder..." but I'm thinking all that PLUS getting paid would be pretty fantastic.

Sorry I haven't posted much - I have been mostly indoors trying to put together our house, and it's been raining non-stop. Today (Monday) is the first day we've seen any sun since last Wednesday. So I promise, if I don't write it's because nothing much is happening.

OH - Ryan, thanks so much for putting me in touch with Casey - we got together the other day and took the kids to a couple of stores to run errands, and I'm awaiting her arrival now and we're heading to a local playground/skate park. Pictures to come! She's awesome - and FINALLY another woman who loves sushi and is adventurous! When the kids are in school, we're going to go explore together even more.