Many good things have happened on Twitter lately.
That’s where a hypothetical make-your-own blogging convention happened to me in Connecticut.
That’s where I’ve gone to seek comfort during times of dental visit stress and kid-induced meltdowns.
That’s where Jen from PinkWhen first suggested we partner up for this week’s Ask Away Friday.
You’re going to find this surprising (not), but I don’t quite remember how I “met” Jen either. I believe we started going to each other’s blogs more often after we both partnered with WeMontage to make beautiful photo wallpaper collages.
Or it could have been any of a number of her posts about crafting, cooking, DIY, parenting, etc. Also likely, it could have been when we teamed up on The Mother of All Meltdowns book. The book has brought many of us together, happily.
And here are my responses to her questions. Be sure to check out the PinkWhen blog for her answers to my questions!
1. I love your children’s names, what was the meaning behind Des and Scarlet’s name?
Why, thank you! I actually have two posts on the subject – one for Scarlet here and one for Des here. I think we had similar requirements for our children’s names. They had to be strong names that were unique but not weird. Ones that people would hear and think, “Ahh. Ok. I get you.” And not think, “What the heck were they thinking?” Scarlet was a name that followed me throughout life and Cassidy also felt compelled to use it. He convinced me to use one “t” instead of two! Des is pretty much named for Desmond from LOST. And Destiny. And sometimes I tell people he was named for Desmond Tutu, so let’s just go with that too. Even though it’s more about LOST. And being handsome and dreamy and having the great nicknames of Des and Desi.
2. How long have you been doing photography, and what is your first memory of deciding this was what you really wanted to do?
I worked for a photography studio as a class photographer in schools in 2003. My first professional gig on my own was in March of 2004, I believe, so it’s been about a decade! Of course I took years off to move and explore and try corporate things, and all of that worked for me to a point. I had long wanted to explore photography but it wasn’t until right after college when I received a camera body and versatile lens as gifts, that I really realized how much my visions could come to life. This was in the days of film! I went on a long, spontaneous roadtrip with a boyfriend all the way from New Jersey to Key West, and we must have cumulatively taken 20-30 rolls of film on our trip! I watched the sun rise over Islamorada one morning and was happy to see that my vision of the reflection of our hotel and palm trees reflected onto the ocean came to life. I thought it was like magic.
I actually found a few photos from my first solo gig! The sepia tones were from film, and not from Photoshop, and it was a fun role-playing shoot:
3. When you are doing photography in the house, what is your favorite “go to” lens and settings? (Umm…see, I am trying to learn from you!)
Well my favorite lens is my 50mm 1.4. For indoors, I have a 35mm too that can capture a lot more of a scene but the 50mm is my favorite! As for go to settings, it depends on a lot of factors. For indoors, I’m definitely going to be looking for sources of natural light first. If there are none, I’d use an external flash unit but that’s a story of settings all on its own! So let’s say there is good natural light? I’d probably aim for something like this: aperture: 2.2 – 2.8., shutter speed: at LEAST 250 with kids involved, ISO: something around 800 – 1000, realistically. Generally higher if it’s not peak sunbeam time, but usually not lower when indoors in winter. Have I confused you enough yet??
4. You have such an amazing blog and your true passions and personality really come thru the blog making us all feel like we know you. How comfortable are you with always sharing your most meaningful feelings?
I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable as time has gone on. I used to get a little queasy as my finger hovered over the mouse to click the “Publish” button. These days I’m more comfortable with the way I choose to share my thoughts and feelings, and I generally schedule my posts the night before rather than publishing them live, so I do have time to go back and change anything I feel is too much. That generally doesn’t happen, though. People tell me I share so much, and really, isn’t there so much more I could say? There are worlds within worlds of what I could say. So I think about that a lot when I think I may be getting too deep.
5. Some of my favorite posts from you are when you start off with lyrics to music, you always tie everything in so well. What kind of music is your favorite, favorite artist?
I like my music like I like my movies – dramatic, light mixed with heavy, peaks and climaxes, then it settles back down. I’ve had pretty much lifelong (or at least adult-long) favorites that I will always feel strongly about. Bruce Hornsby, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Counting Crows, Tori Amos, Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Toad the Wet Sprocket, The Police, Ben Folds Five, John Williams, Danny Elfman, and many more, I’m sure.
6. Have you always written so beautifully? Did you take a course, practice, or are you just gifted and awesome like that?
Well first of all, I’m blushing. Thank you. I have always written the way I do now – very expressively. I remember writing a note to my 4th grade teacher after seeing her cry one day, about how it touched me to see her sad. I left the note with a box of Valentine m&ms. She called me at home that night to tell me I expressed myself well. In 5th grade, it was the famous English teacher who told me that if I didn’t become a writer, she’d hunt me down one day. She was the one to tell me that my writing was very sad, so that I didn’t have to be. At least, not always. I took honors writing classes in high school and I majored in journalism in college, so I took many courses to get to where I am today, at least structure-wise. As for the expressive part of it, I was born that way. I think I’d go insane if I didn’t have this outlet.
7. I am a relatively newbie blogger having only done this since the beginning of the year. You have mentioned that you have blogged for a long time. What would be two or three things that really helped you take your blogging passion to the next level?
Awesome question! When I started, I didn’t have any idea I’d get into the photography aspect of it. Once I figured out that sharing photos on my blog was super cool, the passion ignited. The second thing was being accepted into the BlogHer Publishing Network and getting syndicated. The third thing was joining SITS and meeting all of you. I think about what blogging would be like without, not only a community, but without this particular community, and I just shudder to think about it.
8. Let’s pretend you are having a magical day (You’re the Queen, Hubby the King, Des the Prince, and Scarlet the Princess) what would you be doing for that one magical Royal day?
I had to skip and come back to this one a few times. Obviously I have my version of realistic dream days, that include sleeping late, going out for breakfast and being with the family all day. However since we’re royal in this scenario, we’d take a helicopter or private jet to the woods of Maine. And then we’d look for the rare albino moose. I’d settle for the brown ones too. There would be lots of potatoes in this scenario too. Probably because my stomach is growling right now and that sounds perfect.
9. Back to photography, (because that is what I always associate you with – beautiful pictures) what are your FAVORITE pictures to take? All of them are gorgeous, but what is your real passion that when you get to take these certain pictures, you just zone in and have fun?
Well there are the moments that I say something funny, or life just happens the way it happens, and something natural but aware settles over the subjects. Laughter, or that moment after laughter. Love, or that moment before love. I don’t even know what I’m saying but let’s just say that candid expressions and moments between people make me really happy.
10. It’s winter time and it’s getting dark early, cold, and sometimes the season can be a little “depressing” because of it. What are some things you try to do with the family to keep things cheerful and bright?
I do struggle with this. Not in a seasonal affective disorder way, but in a way in which I fully acknowledge the losses of long days, warm sun, light, and that magical thing where if you have to go somewhere..you just get in the car! Genius, right? No starting the car ten minutes early to warm it up and melt some frost. No hats and boots and mittens and puffy coats. It’s..amazing. And I will never take it for granted again! Come back to me!