Back Up Your Computers, People.

Sorry for the absence. My computer died Wednesday (we’re assuming it’s a hard drive problem) and I’ve been making up for the loss of all of my files amongst photoshoots, work and other such busy-ness.

Not having my own computer has been an interesting experience. I don’t think I’ve been in a situation where I had to rely on community computers since I was in elementary or middle school. My family always had a home computer around, so even when I didn’t have a laptop I had a computer where I could safely store my files.

Luckily, my school is pretty good about having computers available for students to use, and they have most of the programs that I need in order to get things done. It’s just weird having to store anything I do on an external storage, as well as having to start over on everything every time I go to do work. No leaving any half-finished edited pictures up overnight for me.

I should hear back about what is actually wrong with my computer today hopefully, but until I hear otherwise, I have to assume that I have lost all of my pictures not backed up (which thankfully was not as much as I originally thought) all of my documents, and all of my music. I think the worst of all of that actually is the music, since I have original files of a lot of my pictures, and documents can be recreated when needed… but my thousands of songs organized, with artworks, from years of downloading… that one hurts.

I’ll be spending a few weekends fixing all of this once I have a working computer again.

Saturday, which should have been the day I posted, I was in Phoenix again for a cosplay photoshoot. I had a lot of fun, met some great people, but I’m still hoping that this weekend was the last of those types of trips for a while. I’d love to go back and spend more time with some of the people I have done shoots with, maybe do some individual shoots where it’s not so stressful to get everyone done, but for now, I need to concentrate on surviving the rest of the semester.

After three weekends of being away from the apartment, I definitely feel like staying in for a bit and sleeping in my own bed, just being in one place for a while… but with spring break coming up at the end of this week, that’s not going to happen. My sister and I are headed to Disneyland, and will be driving from California to Tucson for a few days after we are done with the fun.

It’s supposed to rain while we’re at Disneyland, that will be a first for us. We spent a good part of this morning reading up on what the parks are like when it rains. I’m actually excited, as long as it doesn’t rain too heavy, it will end up in our favor, hopefully it won’t be as busy as it usually is. Also the last time we went we accidentally ended up going on the ¬†opening date of Disneyland on its 60th anniversary, so really it can only get better from there as far as crowds are concerned.

For now, I’m just concentrating on getting through this week, not ending up in a puddle due to a huge stress-enduced meltdown before Thursday afternoon.

 

Out of curiosity, do any of you have suggestions for laptops that would be great for photo editing and potentially gaming?

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Why Is Liz So Stressed Out?

Entering in to my last semester of college, I thought everything would be business as usual, nothing too crazy, that I would just get through my classes for the last time and graduate.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

This semester I decided on four classes: three photo classes and an online business class that would last for the first half of the semester. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s proven to be the ingredients to the busiest, most time consuming group of classes I think I’ve ever taken in all of my college years. Three photo classes is just not as easy and carefree as it sounds, really.

To be fair, it’s not only my classes that are taking up my time, work and social life events are also a factor. This year has been the busiest socially for me, which I’m really alright with, and with my new position at work, I have more hours there and less time at work that I get to work on other things since I don’t just sit at a desk the whole time anymore.

It would probably help my case if I took better care of myself. Somehow I have been sick for most of the semester, and it seems like I haven’t been 100% healthy at any given time. My eating habits aren’t the best (though I am working on that) and I definitely don’t drink enough water to keep my body happy (also working on that.) I don’t get enough sleep, but that isn’t all my fault. Noisy room mates who don’t sleep and have no regard to others who may want to be sleeping tend to keep you awake it would seem.

This weekend coming up will be the third weekend in a row that I’m traveling, and the second one of the three wheee I’ll be doing a big shoot. After the last weekend I did traveling and with big important shoots, I have to admit I wonder if I can handle it again so soon. It may require very high amounts of caffeine, some crying, and a very decent playlist to get me through.

I plan on actively trying to fix some of my issues, working to keep myself organized and healthy. It just feels as if I’m adding more to my plate by trying to fix those issues while trying to keep up with the rest of life.

I shouldn’t complain too much, this is probably pretty close to what life after college will be like, crazy and full of stress, but I can only wish that things are especially crazy right now and I won’t actually have to go through lack of sleep and being overwhelmed so often in life when I’m done with school.

Food Photography: Restaurant Shoots

Becoming more and more interested in the world of food photography has introduced me to doing restaurant shoots. So far I have done two, and I have to say, the first time I felt absolutely professional as a photographer was when I did this second restaurant shoot in Tucson. Not that the shoot went perfectly (it really didn’t for many reasons) but it left me feeling like I was a professional and that I might be able to survive in the real world of photography.

Reasons it didn’t go so well: I didn’t realize that I had received an email from the restaurant owner rescheduling the shoot until I got there (always check your email before going out on location, things tend to change). The timing of the shoot was later in the day and I found myself losing light fast (usually I would opt for morning shoots, but sometimes you have to work with the client’s schedule). The audio recorder wouldn’t work for the interview (not a common problem for most photographers, but in this case I needed an interview and of course technology isn’t always reliable.)

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Reasons the shoot went well: The staff at the restaurant I was shooting for was amazing and very understanding. Not only did they let me shoot at the original time and provide me with 3 dishes and a beverage to shoot (above and beyond, folks!) but they made sure I was comfortable too, really helping to lessen my stress level. The restaurant owner was very understanding too, and was super supportive, knowing I was a student and not very experienced in these types of shoots. The dishes were amazing! They were colorful, beautiful and unique, everything a food photographer could hope for.

I’m very glad that everything worked out in the end, and it was fun to use some special equipment to do the shoot, but I would definitely check this shoot off as a learning experience over anything else. I’m proud of myself for handling things so well, taking the curve balls as they came and coming out with some great pictures (all hence why I felt professional even though things didn’t go 100%).

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Some basic tips I would give to any food photographers staring out are:

  • Don’t count on the restaurant having all the supplies you need. If you think you’re going to need props, utensils, placemats, etc, just take them. I did and left them in the car, so as not to seem overbearing in the shoot, and didn’t end up needing them, but I would have been glad to have any of it had the need arose. I would add that you want to make sure you have any photo equipment you might need. Reflectors, flashes, extra lenses, should all be ready to use and in your vehicle just in case.
  • Don’t be afraid to touch the food. I usually use a fork or some other type of utensil if I need to move parts of the food around, but if you need to get your fingers messy to get the food looking right for the shot, go for it. You don’t want to have to rely on PhotoShop later to fix the food.
  • If you are using natural lighting (I highly recommend natural!) make sure sunlight is diffused. This shoot took place on the patio of the restaurant, which is always my first choice if such an area is available. I mentioned before that it took place later in the day, so I was lucky to have some nice shade to work in. But if I had been faced with direct sunlight I would have used some sort of diffuser to avoid harsh lighting.
  • Realize that food is time-sensitive. In this shoot, I was working with some veggies and fruit, as well as lettuce in several of the dishes. Over time, all of this type of food will start to wilt. The avocados were especially time sensitive since it was a bit warm out. I ended up shopping out some of the brown spots that started to appear, but overall I knew I needed to shoot these dishes quickly to avoid capturing any discoloring or wilting.
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Hits Deep Tour: Phoenix

People who say Christians can’t have fun have obviously never been to a tobyMac concert.

As I write this, I am sore and exhausted, but my heart is so full and happy. Being a part of a sold out crowd of believers will do that to you, I suppose.

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So I went to a tobyMac concert in Phoenix on Friday, at the Talking Sticks Arena. It’s not the first Christian artist that I’ve seen in concert, but it had been a while since I had gone to a concert for a Christian artist, and it was certainly one of the largest concerts I had gone to.

It wasn’t the quality of the concert that blew me away (though it was amazing quality-wise, so don’t get me wrong). What really amazed me about this night was the ability for so many people to come to a venue and make it a house of God. For that one night, the arena was a Church and it was full of believers. Believers who danced and sang and jumped around for Jesus.

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Being able to gather with thousands of people I had never met before and feel so connected in faith, taking a Friday night concert and turning it into time for worship and to hear prayer fill the room was an incredible experience, and I’m so glad I was able to be there to feel so lifted.

I feel so thankful to have come to a point in my faith where I don’t feel embarrased to be in that type of environment and really let loose. I remember being at the last Christian concert I went to almost 10 years ago and feeling so timid in my faith, not wanting to lift my hands or sing out loud. I sat in my seat and hid while the people around me worshipped. Tonight I danced without shame, sang loud for everyone to hear.

For those of you who think Christians only stay in on Friday nights and we don’t do a whole lot of partying, I would like you to know that Jesus held a pretty fantastic party Friday night, and thousands of Christians went and had a great time.

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Health Journey : The Beginning

I think part of what makes getting healthy so difficult after living in an unhealthy manner for a while, is that as an adult, you are the person who can make you change your ways. You might have other reasons to be healthy, such as kids, family, people who need you, or things like your job or dreams require you to be healthy, but you are the only person who can force yourself to become the healthier version of yourself. No one will do that for you.

But something I have begun to learn is that having an accountability partner definitely helps with this.

I signed up for the Color Vibe run with a few of my friends, and one of the friends who agreed to do it asked me if I wanted to train with her since we’re both at a beginning level in a sense. I agreed, and it’s become less of just training together and more of planning out getting healthy together.

Though it’s still 100% on me to get my meals prepped, to eat right, to go and exercise, etc., it does make it easier to do so knowing that someone else is counting on me to go through the journey with her.

I’m obviously still having problems with a few things. Quitting soda and coffee has always seemed impossible to me, and having a really rough semester doesn’t help my attempt to quit. I’m also finding myself eating more cheese than I should and suffering the consequences of that. Exercise is something I tend to get into in phases, sometimes I’m really into it, but most of the time, I just want to sleep.

I’m also not sure how I want to measure my goals for getting healthy, which is so important for any journey. Without measurable goals, it can be so easy to be discouraged, and I want to avoid that if possible. Any suggestions?

Until I can figure that out, I guess my ultimate goal is just to feel great about my body. Lately I’ve been in a bit of a rut when looking to love my body, I’m not happy with what I see in the mirror and I’m definitely not happy with the way my body feels. Hopefully this journey will help me to connect better with my body and to appreciate it for what it can do.

This is a Short Post

I missed my post on Monday, and this one is really late, sorry, but I have good reason for such bad posting habits this week.

This past weekend, I was overloaded. I mean, seriously, too much on my plate, I didn’t sleep, I definitely had Starbucks coffee for about 6 of my meals. I had to get through three photoshoots, write a 7 page research paper, do a bunch of work for an online class, the list goes on and on. Long story short, I spent this weekend getting no sleep and working myself to death.

So Monday I was still recovering and forgot to try to post, and the busy lifestyle just keeps going. Weekends don’t really exist and there’s never nothing to do. Having a life and getting work done simultaneously is an olympic sport and I’m training for gold.

On the bright side, I managed to get some really great photos, got a good amount done otherwise and didn’t actually die from lack of sleep and real food. Hopefully I can recover soon and start at least attempting to function like a real human being again. Also I will try to share some of my images as soon as I work on them a bit. Because seriously, it was a productive weekend in the world of photography.

Until then, this is a short post and I will try to queue some more so you all won’t have to miss me too bad…

Bucket List

My sister and I were recently talking about traveling after graduation. We each have some money we had originally saved up for a summer trip that never worked out. As we talked about all the places we wanted to go, the list kept growing longer and longer, and we never really decided on a place to go.

It made me think though, I really need a new bucket list. Not just an updated one, but really a new one with new ideas as the person I am now. Especially now that I’m graduating and I’m going to be in the real world, I don’t want my life to become mundane and boring all the time. I want to be able to look forward to things and keep some excitement in my life, even if it’s only once in a while that I get to do it.

So here’s a short list of the types of things that would probably make it to my official bucket list, if I ever get around to actually making an official bucket list.

  • Run a Disneyland Half Marathon
  • Read 1,000 books
  • Go to Comic Con in cosplay
  • Learn to make really good coffee
  • Adopt a Corgi
  • Learn another language and speak it fluently
  • Get engaged at Disneyland (the engaging is optional, the Disneyland part is not)
  • Visit Hobbiton
  • Get a book published
  • Go to a Stanley Cup playoff game
  • Travel through Europe
  • Have my photography published
  • Meet a penguin

What’s on your bucket list?