Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer is for Beach Vacations

OK, massive photo share here. Hang with me to the end, because I have a big announcement.

In June, we met up with my parents and my sister and her kids in Orange Beach, AL for a cousins vacation. Just low key, relaxing fun. I took some photos of my beautiful niece, and spent lots of time at my computer, editing the photos. I could edit photos all day, and some days, that's all I did!

We got up one morning to see the sunrise.

And took group photos so that Grammy and Papa will have a Christmas card photo this year.

I enlisted the help of my trusty assistant.

Teenage boys don't want to stand too close together. . . Oh, well.

Looks like my sister will get a Christmas card photo too.

There were epic games of Risk.

And some relaxing screen time.

Papa brought his metal detector to search for buried treasure.

Bottle caps and pennies. That's all we got.

So we don't get to quit our day jobs and become full time beach bums.

So here's my announcement. 

Join me at Click Away!

I'm going to Click Away! It's an amazing photography conference taking place in Salt Lake City, September 11-13. 

Oh, how I agonized over this decision. I mean, homeschooling moms of four don't just up and fly all the way across the country by themselves to go to a conference where they don't even know ANYONE, do they?

Nancy, the gal, who taught my photography classes, mentioned this conference many months ago, but at the time, I wasn't even calling myself a photographer, and didn't think I was good enough to be at such an event.

But a lot has changed since then. I've decided that I am a photographer, and I even set up a little savings account for photography. When people ask me to take their photo and give me a little gift to say thank you, into the account it goes. When I sell old homeschool books on Ebay, my little account grows. Those massive boxes of Thomas the Tank Engine wooden trains and tracks that I've been saving for my grandkids are in imminent danger of being sold to finance my next lens. In fact, anything that is not being used at my house and isn't nailed down is fair game. Use it or lose it, people!

Then, after upgrading my camera and buying my amazing 135mm lens, I made another decision. For the next little while, I need to spend the $$ in my savings account on photography education, not more photography gear. For the next year or so, I want to work on SKILLS!

Because here's the secret. It's not really about better gear. It's about growing as an artist. Better cameras don't magically take better photos.  It really is mostly about skills.  

And that brought me back to Click Away. Over 300 classes in one place. Networking with other hobbyist and professional photographers. And shooting photos in a very beautiful part of the U.S. I'm so in!

Want to join me at Click Away? Check it out. If you use the promo code DANABALL at checkout, you'll get $60 off your registration. 

Hope to see you there!

One last thing. Now, my big dilemma is whether to room by myself or try to get a roommate. Click Away's message boards are full of roommate requests. (FYI, I'm an introvert, and am pretty sure that I will never sign up to room with someone I don't know.) Last night, Wenxin told me he thought I should post a roommate request. In fact, he had already decided what it should say. He put a lot of thought into this.

"Roommate needed. I like to stay up late editing photos. No drinking. I might snore a little sometimes, but not much. I hope you will want to be my friend." 

Little by Little


  1. Your photography skills are already growing by leaps and bounds! I'm so excited to see each of your photography posts and am THRILLED that you decided to go to the conference!!

  2. Lovely shots! Loving the last one of the boys go karting, the faces are priceless!

  3. These are gorgeous!! What a great family you have!

  4. I'm so happy for you being able to go to CA! I really wish I could join you this time. I would love to do that eventually. I'm really pleased for your photography journey coming along the way it has. SO exciting! How fun for us Thailand, homeschool moms, turn photographers to share so may passions!

  5. Your photography is excellent ~ what a fun vacation and now you are going to 'class' ~ that is exciting ~ So right to work on skills ~ good cameras are great but it is who is behind the camera that makes the photos ~ thanks, Have fun at your photo class ~

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

  6. skill-building is a great idea! A co-worker of mine took a photography correspondence course through her university, they'd get assignments and post their homework. An idea to ponder for the future... though I think your conference may give you more specialized skills.... I loved the conference I attended for my own industry.

    have an awesome time!

  7. Oh Dana, you are so making the right decision going to Click Away! I plan to go as well.
    I remember being where you are now. "If only I had that lens!" "If only I had a nicer camera"... You are smart not to be investing in gear, but in classes. It is smart, though, that you invested in a full frame camera, a portrait lens, and a standard lens. I am a strong believer in having that trio. I will say, though, one of the biggest tidbits of advice I can give to you is investing in a class dedicated solely to creative composition. Composition is a pitfall many newer photographers fall into. It is even harder to learn than M mode. The sooner you learn it, the better.



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